Phil Gould goes public with startling theory about Queensland flop in State of Origin 2

Gould slammed Queensland's weak mentality in Game 2.

Everyone expected NSW to be more competitive in Game 2 but not even the most one-eyed Blues fan would have predicted the first-half domination that ensued on Wednesday night. But NSW still have the task ahead of them if they are to deny Queensland a three-peat on home soil next month, with Suncorp Stadium a notorious graveyard for Blues teams over the past two decades.

And Phil Gould believes the luxury of having Game 3 on home soil resulted in the Maroons playing "soft" on Wednesday night in what he says is becoming somewhat of a concerning trend for Queensland sides over the years. After a dominant win in Game 1, Queensland were humbled in Game 2 and Gould believes knowing they could lose at the MCG and then head home for Game 3 saw them fold like a lawn chair when they came under pressure on Wednesday night.

Pictured left Reece Walsh, Daly Cherry-Evans and Spencer Leniu and right Phil Gould
Pictured left Reece Walsh, Daly Cherry-Evans and Spencer Leniu and right Phil Gould

Gould believes Queensland's soft mentality led to the shock capitulation that saw them concede the most first-half points by a team in Origin history and give up the biggest half-time lead ever. "Queensland, when they are one up in the series and particularly when they know they’ve got Queensland up their sleeve Game 3, can be soft in Game 2," Gould said on Channel 9's Origin broadcast.

"They came here with a soft mentality. They came here knowing they were one up in the series, decider was still to come. You aim that up with an improvement from the NSW side, which looked a much better team on paper tonight.”

"That was emphatic,” Gould continued. “Queensland weren’t ready for that. NSW were obviously up for it. If you’re not ready at this level, you get exactly what you deserve. I can’t take any positives out of the second half for Queensland. They’ve got the regroup, rethink their football, and rethink their attitude.”

While NSW now has all momentum heading into Game 3, the Blues most successful coach in history, says winning at Suncorp is a different beast entirely. “What I will say is regardless of what’s happened in Game 1 or Game 2, it’s a completely different animal when we get to Queensland for a decider,” Gould said.

“Completely different animal. Certainly, NSW need to be wary about coming off the back of this and expecting just to roll into Game III and do the same. It won’t be. The decider in Queensland has been NSW achilles heel for four decades.”

In Game 3, Michael Maguire's NSW side has the chance to become just the third Blues team in history to win a series decider in Brisbane, with the 1994 and 2005 teams the only ones to manage the enormous feat since the Origin series began 44 years ago. But Gould believes this series Queensland faces a serious challenge as they need to make drastic changes to prevent a repeat of Game 2. “For the Queenslanders, Suncorp is not going to do it for them. They have to change what they did tonight. It was really poor,” Gould said.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 13: Daly Cherry-Evans of the Maroons celebrates victory with the crowd after winning game three of the State of Origin Series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 13, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
NSW have a horrendous record at Suncorp Stadium.

“They were never in that game. Talk about taking positives out of the second half, there were no positives in that second half. They were absolutely manhandled here tonight.”

Queensland legend Darren Lockyer, who has won an incredible seven Origin series, agreed with Gould that the Suncorp Stadium factor alone isn't enough. “We can’t use Suncorp as a saviour. When you get to Suncorp, as a NSW player, it hits your face, and it does,” Lockyer said.

“They will be semi-embarrassed after tonight. They will go there tail between their legs. They will go there with a different attitude. They will play for the crowd, but the crowd’s not going to get them there on their own.”


Speaking after his side's emphatic Game 2 victory on Wednesday night, Blues coach Michael Maguire insisted he and his Blues squad are not concerned about NSW's previous struggles at Suncorp Stadium. "One thing about this group is they don't really look into any of that," Maguire said about the Blues' Suncorp Stadium record. "They just work hard on helping each other out and working for each other. Wherever you go and play, you've got to play and this group, they're looking internally rather than looking externally.

"At the end of the day, it's the same field you have got to play and they found their game tonight. It can be done," he added the possibility of a comeback series triumph. "If this group gets together like they did for this game, there's no reason why things can't happen."