Maroons captain torched over brutal press conference admission

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Pictured here, Maroons captain Daly Cherry-Evans speaking after Origin Game II.
Daly Cherry-Evans says the Maroons were not as motivated as the Blues. Pic: Fox Sports

Rugby League great Cooper Cronk has taken an angry swipe at Daly Cherry-Evans after the Queensland skipper made a worrying post-match admission after his side's chastening State of Origin defeat.

The Maroons surrendered the series after a historic 26-0 defeat to the Blues in Game II at Suncorp Stadium, with Cherry-Evans conceding after the match that he thought the Blues players were more motivated than his side.

'THIS IS SCARY': Concerns over Origin crowd amid Covid chaos

'SHAME ON YOU': Outrage over photo of NSW Premier

'DISGRACE: Queensland player ruled ineligible in Origin fiasco

The Blues were desperate to avenge last year's series defeat to the Maroons after being heavy favourites in 2020, and they made amends with a scintillating performance at Queensland's 'cauldron' on Sunday night.

Josh Addo-Carr scored twice, captain James Tedesco was instrumental at fullback and Latrell Mitchell bagged an intercept try as one of several big first-half plays that set the tone for the Blues' dominant win.

Maroons skipper Cherry-Evans fought back tears after the match, as he conceded that the better side had won the series after big victories in the opening two games.

It was in his post-match press conference that the Quesnsland captain raised eyebrows, however, when he questioned the passion of his own players for the defeats.

“I think we’ve got to be motivated by the fact this has all happened and stop the bleeding (in game three),” Cherry-Evans said.

“I don’t think we were lacking passion, I believe after last year they were probably more motivated to win the series than we were.

“Probably with the motivation factor — you’d have to say theirs is a lot higher than ours at the moment and it’s something we can fix though.”

The comments ruffled the feathers of former Queensland and Australia halfback Cronk, who said Cherry-Evans should have shouldered more of the blame for the defeat and questioned how motivation was lacking for any Queensland players.

“There was zero conviction there,” Cronk told Fox League after Cherry-Evans’ press conference comments.

“If I’m DCE I put my hand up as captain and halfback and say, ‘It’s not all on me but a large percentage is on me because I didn’t tell this person to get to this position or I didn’t have my lead runners right’.

“For me the lack of motivation — and this is Origin — you’re playing at Suncorp, I’ve run out at Suncorp and there’s enough motivation in that roar when you run out onto that field.

“You lost, there’s nothing wrong with owning it and vowing to fight your way back next year.”

Maroons coach dwells on Mulitalo drama

The spotlight was also on Paul Green after his second heavy defeat in his opening two Origin games as Maroons coach - including the first ever shutout loss for Queensland in Brisbane.

Green bemoaned the disruption to his squad caused by the eligibility drama around Ronaldo Mulitalo, who had to withdraw from the Maroons side on the morning of Game II.

The Maroons were unable to prove he had arrived in Australia before his 13th birthday and, despite Mulitalo playing under-18s and under-20s for Queensland, were forced to withdraw him or face the possibility of forfeiting.

Seen here, Ronaldo Mulitalo in training with the Maroons.
An eligibility issue saw Ronaldo Mulitalo withdraw from the Maroons squad on the morning of Game II. Pic: Getty

"It's obviously a massive breakdown in the process and I don't think that's finished yet," he said.

"All the information that was available to us, (indicated) he was able to play.

"He signed his last two contracts and in that he signed his eligibility to say he was.

"We don't register the contracts, we aren't part of that process.

"We just get a list off a database (from the NRL) that says they're eligible based on that."

However, league great Braith Anasta slammed Green for deflecting the bigger issues around the Maroons' series defeat.

“What a deflection that was. For the first five minutes we’re talking about Ronaldo Mulitalo,” Anasta told Fox League.

“I said ahead of game one, Paul Green was so focused on making sure his side was the underdog. I saw that as poor leadership, I saw that as an excuse, and I see that (Mulitalo) the same.

“That should not be your focus after a loss like that. A record-breaking, poor performance in games one and two, and all he was worried about was Ronaldo Mulitalo.

“That was insignificant. Ronaldo wouldn’t have changed that.”

with agencies

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

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