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Origin III player ratings: Queensland Maroons

Player ratings for the Queensland Maroons team in their State of Origin III clash with the NSW Blues at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast.

1. Kalyn Ponga: Immense return to the Origin arena. So elusive and skilful, he added a badly-needed dimension in attack. Crucial line-break led to Ben Hunt's second try. Queensland have a few gun fullbacks but a fit Ponga has proven he's their No.1 man long-term. 8.5

2. Valentine Holmes: Much more at home on the wing. Was playing well until succumbing to a shoulder injury right on half-time. 6

3. Dane Gagai: Left clutching at thin air as Latrell Mitchell stepped around him to score NSW's first try. But the experienced centre tried hard with 16 runs - the most of Queensland's backs. 6

4. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow: Has the gift of knowing where and when to bob up and score tries. That showed in the debutant's support play to open his team's account. A busy and confident first showing, though his involvement decreased when forced to the wing. 7.5

Tabuai-Fidow gets a try on debut for the Maroons

5. Xavier Coates: Few opportunities to shine though he did make 92 metres. Still didn't look like he completely trusted his inside men in defence. 6

6. Cameron Munster: Not the dominant force he was last year but had flashes of brilliance including a wonderful eyes-up play from dummy-half to create a try. 7.5

7. Daly Cherry-Evans: Had some good moments despite not quite taking control when Queensland had a mountain of attacking possession in the first half. Still, the halfback's captaincy had been challenged and he deserves credit for helping to inspire such a turnaround. 7

Hunt steps off the left to score his second

8. Christian Welch: Helped keep the middle firm. Got through plenty of defensive work (38 tackles) and his one-percent efforts can't be questioned. Luckily a late high tackle on Mitch Moses didn't cost Queensland. 8

9. Ben Hunt: When the Maroons needed someone to stand up, Hunt answered the call. Turned the match in the second half, forcing a NSW error with jolting defence and then bagging a quickfire double. 9

10. Josh Papalii: Among the best players on the field in the first half. Carried the ball powerfully and usually found his front to generate momentum. The veteran's influence on Queensland cannot be understated. 8.5

11. Kurt Capewell: Enjoyed being back in his favoured second-row role. One of four Maroons forwards to crack 100m. 7.5

12. Felise Kaufusi: Quietly went about topping the tackle count (48) without setting the world alight. Started the game with more intent. 7

15. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui: Absolutely everywhere in an energetic first stint in which he set up Tabuai-Fidow's try with a nice offload. Finished with 101 metres and 37 tackles. 8

Interchange

14. AJ Brimson: An injury to Holmes resulted in Brimson playing the second half at centre. Had the daunting task of containing Tom Trbojevic but all things considered he handled it capably. 7

16: Moeaki Fotuaika: Queensland's player of the series, hands down. Once again he led the team for metres with 129 off the bench. Should be one of the first players picked next year. 8

18. Francis Molo: Ran with vigour and intent, joining forces with Fotuaika to ensure the Maroons maintained the rage up front. 7

20. Thomas Flegler: Took some punishment when carting the ball up on debut but wasn't deterred. A great experience for the young Bronco. 5

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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