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How the Blues exposed Ponga in Origin II

Football WWOS

While Kalyn Ponga was the toast of the rugby league world following Origin I, it was a totally different story for the star after Game 2.
'Kalyn Ponga's pivotal performance in the Maroons game 1 victory had several pundits and fans calling for the youngster's elevation to the Kangaroos side, yet a masterclass from the Blues' James Tedesco in Origin II may have changed all that following a thumping loss in heavy conditions at Perth Stadium. Tedesco finished with 209 run metres, one line-break, two line-break assists and two try assists and terrorised the Maroons through the centre third of the field at will. Ponga had 9 carries for just 63 metres and made some uncharacteristic errors with the ball while his forwards were outmuscled in the middle of the park making it virtually impossible for the fullback to make any impact on the game. The NSW side were ruthless with the ball and just kept the opposition on the backfoot racking up an impressive 1736 run metres. Queensland on the other hand were couldn't win the battle of the ruck, making a total of 989 metres. Only a couple of Maroons players made more than 100 running metres - Corey Oates (114) and Felipe Kaufusi (102). Nine NSW players surpassed the 100m mark with Josh Addo Carr making the most running metres from both sides with a miraculous 227m. Man-of-the-match Jake Trbojevic, made the most metres of any forward with 133, while skipper Boyd Cordner made 117m. The poor performance from Queensland's forwards was felt right throughout the team, especially Ponga, who was clearly outgunned by Tedesco. Former NSW skipper Paul Gallen told 100 % Footy , even though the Maroons did let down their game-breaking players, it was clear the Blues had a game plan to attack Ponga in certain situations. \'I thought the Blues found him out a bit. Tommy Turbo jumped over him for that first try. The next bomb that went up the boys were penalised because they took him out in the air,\' he said. \'He actually dropped it first and he would have known that in the game. I thought the Blues defended him really well last night.\' Gallen said Tedesco came out with a point to prove after all the talk praising Ponga following the game I victory and it was obvious the Roosters No.1 was playing with a chip on his shoulder. \'I thought Tedesco took it pretty personally. There was a lot of talk about Ponga during the week about how good he is. I reckon Tedesco really took it on and I think he showed he's still the No.1 fullback in the country.\' Fellow 100 % Footy panelist and Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston tried to defend Ponga's performance and said it was difficult for him to shine, not just without his forwards dominating, but also due to a lack of direction from his halves. \'I don't think they helped KP out too much. They were starved of the ball. The great halfbacks get you on the front foot and we were just unable to do that.\' Thurston also highlighted how the Maroons weren't utilising Ponga's talents properly, with their playmakers failing to put him in the right position. \'I noticed him around the ruck quite a bit. They need to get him out on an edge where you can get him the ball and try and put the centre under pressure.\''