Queensland legend Johnathan Thurston has slammed the late game tactics that cost the Maroons a chance at levelling the State of Origin series.
In shades of Andrew Johns’ ‘dumb football’ rant of 2017, JT let rip, clearly frustrated by watching Queensland’s strategy fall apart from a distance.
Thurston particularly took aim at Queensland’s approach to the final ten minutes of the match, with the game in the balance at 18-14 and James Roberts in the sin bin.
“I’m a little bit dumbfounded by the way the Queenslanders played with 12 men on the field,” Thurston told Channel 9.
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“A centre (Roberts) going off for 10 minutes, I don’t think they targeted that edge much.
“The first set that they had Ben Hunt kick it dead (for a) 20m restart. That’s a brain explosion on the third tackle.
“Like Joey (Johns) said last year, it was dumb footy.”
Thurston certainly wasn’t alone in his criticism of Hunt, with many calling for the maligned halfback to be dropped for game three, considering his lack of form in big games.
“Are you serious? Third tackle …” Paul Vautin said of Ben Hunt’s kick on Channel 9.
“That kick from Ben Hunt at the other end of the field that put the ball dead on the third tackle could be the biggest play of the game,” Peter Sterling added.
Unsurprisingly footy fans and media also took to Twitter to slam the play of the Queensland and Dragons halfback.
If Queensland had Thurston at halfback instead of Ben Hunt they win this game by 10 points. Big step down. NSW win series 2-0 #Origin
— Jamie Pandaram (@JamiePandaram) June 24, 2018
Ben Hunt. Dropped the grand final in 2015. Kicked it dead 73rd minute tonight. Good grief, he is a confirmed choker. #Origin
— Richard Impiombato (@R_Impiombato) June 24, 2018
That Ben Hunt decision to kick on 3rd tackle on NSW line needs a Royal Commission #Origin
— Josh Blanksby (@JoshBlanksby) June 24, 2018
Ben Hunt … seems like he’s just become the new Mitchell Pearce. Interesting to see how this impacts Dragons. Vice versa, how Cleary’s confidence grows for Panthers.
— Todd Balym (@balymt) June 24, 2018
Good game by the blues. Particularly Ben Hunt. Thought he was best on field for them tonight.
— Anthony Hayes (@theanthonyhayes) June 24, 2018
— Ed Jackson (@edjacko) June 24, 2018
I know very little about rugby league but even I can see Ben Hunt decision making has been poor.
— Natalie Yoannidis (@NatYoannidisFOX) June 24, 2018
Hunt made further headlines in the aftermath of game two, declaring Boyd Cordner had run into him before NSW were awarded their penalty try.
“It’s hard to say he would have got there, I’m not too sure,” Hunt told AAP.
“I thought I was just standing my ground to make a tackle and he ran straight into me.
“That’s what the officials said. They make the decisions and we have to live with it.”