NSW players come together after the James Roberts sin binning on Sunday night.
NSW players come together after the James Roberts sin binning on Sunday night.

How Cordner steeled NSW for final 11 minutes

IT was a moment that made NSW hearts sink on Sunday night.

With the Blues leading Queensland by just four points in the second State of Origin game, James Roberts was sent to the sin bin for obstructing an attacking player.

There was 11 and a half minutes left on the clock and all of a sudden flashes of 2017 began to haunt fans - and players - from south of the Tweed.

It was this time last year that NSW led by four points, then leaked a Dane Gagai try and a Johnathan Thurston sideline conversion in the dying minutes to let the game slip from their grasp.

But it didn't happen this time. The Blues hung on for a crazy 11 minutes to seal a famous Origin victory.

Now,we can take you inside the huddle that steeled the Blues.

As Roberts walked off the field and Queensland set up to launch an offensive assault, it was NSW captain Boyd Cordner who brought his troops together behind the tryline.

Boyd Cordner of the Blues celebrates victory after game two of the State of Origin series. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Boyd Cordner of the Blues celebrates victory after game two of the State of Origin series. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

He and veteran five-eighth James Maloney were the two men who spoke to the players.

"We had a few words. I just said that we're going to win this," Cordner said post-game.

"We've worked so hard for so long, and I just said now we need to work even harder for 11 minutes and get the win.

"It was good, everyone responded well. We just sort of knew we were going to win."

Cordner the captain and Maloney the most experienced NSW player on the field were the men who steeled the Blues to ultimately earn victory.

Both men have played in plenty of big games before, at club level and for their country.

With such a young Origin side there was fears the group would fall apart with a man down and against a Maroons side desperate to draw the series.

James Tedesco said the team remained calm. (Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
James Tedesco said the team remained calm. (Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

But fullback James Tedesco said there was an odd sense of calm that spread around the group in that moment.

That was despite the fact the pain from last year's loss started to creep in during those frantic moments.

"Jimmy and Boyd were our main leaders, and Jimmy is an experienced player," Tedesco said.

"I think everyone stayed pretty calm, no one panicked, everyone did their job.

"You sort of think, with a man down, you get those flashbacks of Queensland scoring in the last minutes.

"Obviously those new guys didn't have that, they just had a feeling of winning and I think that resonated through the whole team."

To make matters worse for NSW, Cordner was knocked out with five minutes left on the clock and had to leave the field.

Boyd Cordner is assisted by trainers.
Boyd Cordner is assisted by trainers.

All of a sudden the Blues were a man down and didn't have their captain on the field.

Tyson Frizell admitted it was frantic on the field, but said the entire team came together to finish the job.

"Towards the end there Boyd got knocked out and everyone was just scrambling," Frizell said.

"It's hard to look back and remember different moments in that game but I'm sure once it settles we will remember those little moments.

"It's a bit of a collective, it wasn't long to go and everyone wants to play their part.

"Everyone did their part, played their role to hold them out. We played a lot of field position with a man down in their half and all the boys did so well."


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