Phil Gould's brutal truth bomb for State of Origin debutant

Chris Young
·3-min read
NRL great Phil Gould was scathing in his assessment of Clint Gutherson's performance in State of Origin I, which the Blues lost in a shock upset. Pictures: Getty Images
NRL great Phil Gould was scathing in his assessment of Clint Gutherson's performance in State of Origin I, which the Blues lost in a shock upset. Pictures: Getty Images

Usually jokes abound about the nature of Phil Gould’s one-eyed support for the Blues - but their shock loss in Origin 1 was no laughing matter for the NRL legend.

New South Wales coughed up a 10-0 half-time lead to lose in a thriller to a Queensland side stacked with rookies, ultimately going down 18-14.

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Plenty of analysis has come since, but it was one tweet from Gould, in response to a fan asking him what he thought of Clint Gutherson and Jack Wighton’s games.

Both were played out of position in the first Origin clash, with Wighton outplayed by Dane Gagai on several occasions and Gutherson coming off second-best against Maroons centre Kurt Capewell, who played under an injury cloud.

Gould was fairly unequivocal in responding to the aforementioned fan’s question.

“Wighton beaten to the inside by a class centre in Dane Gagai,” Gould wrote.

“Luke Keary should’ve been pushing across covering that hole.

“Gutherson beaten to the outside by an out-of-position back-rower playing on one leg.”

Despite his harsh criticism, Gould has also cautioned the Blues against making rash selection decisions ahead of game two next week.

He said their problems were more easily fixed on the field than by tinkering with the squad.

“Biggest challenge I see is for NSW not to panic & look for solutions in selection room,” Gould wrote.

“Plenty of people calling for mass changes to lineup. That would be playing into QLDs hands.

“Maybe a tweak to lineup. But they need a big tweak to their mentality. They can turn it around.”

Andrew Johns calls for heads to roll after NSW shocker

Andrew Johns has called for Cody Walker to be given NSW's No.6 jersey for State of Origin II as part of halves changes that would see Luke Keary axed.

NSW failed to hold onto their 10-0 half-time lead in Wednesday night's series opener, as Queensland made them pay for missed opportunities in the 18-14 loss.

Walker was given just 19 minutes off the bench after being the form player of the NRL over the last two months, coming on as a third playmaker of sorts.

Nathan Cleary and Luke Keary, meanwhile, showed some spark in the halves in the first half playing both sides of the ruck, but neither set up a try or linebreak.

In comparison Walker put two players through holes, including Josh Addo-Carr for a try, in his short stint on the field.

Blues player Jack Wighton didn't have his best game in Origin I, struggling to contain Queensland counterpart Dane Gagai. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Blues player Jack Wighton didn't have his best game in Origin I, struggling to contain Queensland counterpart Dane Gagai. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Johns has previously called for a running five-eighth - like Walker or Jack Wighton - to partner Cleary, in a move that would allow him to play a similar style he did for Penrith.

And after Wednesday night's series-opening loss, the Blues legend believes that must come in the shape of Walker.

"What I saw tonight in the last 15 minutes, 20 minutes I think that Cody Walker has to start," Johns said on Nine.

"He has to come in at five-eighth. He provides a lot of creativity. The Blues' left side of the field looked vulnerable on occasions.

"I thought when he came on the field, Cody, he likes to play. He likes to get his hands on the ball and he likes to create.

"Times in that second half obviously the Blues were on the back foot. They had quick play of the ball and the halves didn't stand up and play."

With AAP

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