Nathan Cleary's telling admission after NSW loss in Origin I

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
NSW halfback Nathan Cleary (pictured) said he would aim to turn around his performance in Game 2 of Origin after he was critical on himself after the Blues' loss. (Getty Images)
NSW halfback Nathan Cleary (pictured) said he would aim to turn around his performance in Game 2 of Origin after he was critical on himself after the Blues' loss. (Getty Images)

NSW halfback Nathan Cleary has put his hand up and taken ownership for the Blues' performance after the Maroons won Game I of the State of Origin series.

The Blues face a tough task to overcome a near 30-year hoodoo to retain the State of Origin shield after going down to the Maroons in a frenetic series-opener.

'ABSOLUTE DISGRACE': Cam Smith at centre of State of Origin furore

'GOT THAT WRONG': NSW fans fume over State of Origin furore

Cameron Munster was the catalyst as he terrorised the NSW defence all night on Wednesday and was rightfully praised for his man-of-the-match performance in Queensland's 16-10 victory.

Cleary has now broken his silence on what he thought could be improved in Game II.

The Penrith halfback started with his role when looking at the loss, and said he felt he could improve in order to match the output of both Daly Cherry-Evans and Munster.

“My performance can lift others around me, and I wasn’t good enough," he said.

“I didn’t play well enough and that affects the result. It is on me to get better and if I am better the rest of the team is too.

“You have never fully got the game worked out. You think you are going alright and then a game like this happens. Sometimes it is not a bad thing."

Nathan Cleary targeted in Maroons victory

Cleary said the loss at home was a reality check for his game at State of Origin level.

“It is a reality check that I need to get better, but win or lose I will keep trying to get better and it is no different this time," he added.

“I will review the game and go more in depth with what I need to do. I can’t be too focused on the results, I need to be focused driven and sometimes it is good to have a little kick up the backside that I do need to get better.”

During the loss, there was an obvious plan for the Maroons to pressure Cleary ahead of his kicking game.

While Cameron Smith speak about the tactic in the lead-up to the game, stats show Cleary was touched more times than any player upon kicking the ball in 2022.

Nathan Cleary (pictured) looks to pass during game one of the 2022 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on June 08, 2022, in Sydney, Australia.
Nathan Cleary (pictured) looks to pass during game one of the 2022 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on June 08, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The seven 'contacts' clearly disrupted the Penrith halfback's rhythm with his precise kicking game slightly wayward in the second half of Game 1.

While Clearly is targeting an improvement in Game 2, Queensland legend Wally Lewis believes Munster can also improve on his man-of-the-match performance.

In a frightening prospect for NSW, Maroons legend Lewis said he thought he had seen better matches from Munster and the best was yet to come.

"I've seen better Origin performances from him - and that's a rap," he told AAP.

"I was watching him early and it looked like he was thinking 'yep, I've got plenty of blokes coming at me in defence here. I'll take it easy and just pass the ball on'.

"Then he started to realise that they were getting a bit tired and he started to run at them.

"They're the moments that make a great player."

with AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting