You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Maroons winger Valentine Holmes.

Valentine Holmes is adamant Queensland's back five can take ownership of the Maroons go-forward in Origin II after being outplayed by NSW in the series opener.

Their hopes of winning the battle of the backfield took a massive hit on Saturday when teenage fullback Reece Walsh was ruled out with a hamstring problem.

Blues centres Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell were the stars of the 50-6 victory but it was their entire back five who were utterly dominant in Townsville.

Statistics don’t always tell the full story, but the tale of the tape from Origin I reads like a horrific mismatch and it’s not lost on the Maroons.

The NSW back five ran for 928 metres, compared to 467m for Queensland, with 33 tackle breaks to 13 and 97 carries to 63.

"Yeah, we’ve spoken about that. I think they made just under 1000m or something like that and we weren’t too great," Holmes said before Walsh's rotten injury luck.

"Obviously we did a lot of tackling and they were getting the ball in good positions and their backs were just hitting it up and taking a lot of carries.

"To have a few guys over 20 carries is quite unheard of in Origin, they shouldn’t be getting that many carries. It should be back and forth pretty fluently but we gave them too much ball and we can’t do that again.

"It’s always disappointing to lose by a big scoreline whether it’s clubland or in Origin and you want to put in a better performance the next game.

"We are all hurting from game one and a little bit embarrassed but we will turn it around."

DCE dampens ‘diving’ Walsh accusation as Origin theatre

Winger Kyle Feldt said the performance of the Blues back five had been noted by the Maroons and he’d made a pact with Holmes to get Queensland off to better set starts at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

"We’ve addressed that as a back five unit and spoken about how much they ran for and how many carries they did and how they got their team on the front foot," Feldt said.

"At the end of the day, it comes back to the way we start our sets as well.

"It’s something we want to take ownership of and it’s something me and Val have spoken about wanting to give our team starts to the sets like them."

Holmes admits it is going to be difficult to match the output of the Blues back five, but said it was important the Queensland defence put an emphasis on their kick chase and line speed when the NSW wingers and centres are likely to be taking their hit-ups.

"We just have to win the ruck and slow the play the ball down. They were very good at finding quick play the balls," Holmes said.

'Embarrassed' Kaufusi ready for Luai revenge

"It’s more so about trying to win the first few tackles and slow them down a bit, then squeeze up and contain them as much as we can."

"It’s a do-or-die game for us, we have to win to take it to a decider."


Origin II in Brisbane is sold out but tickets are still on sale for game three at Stadium Australia in Sydney on July 14 - get your tickets at

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners