Zac Lomax try that highlighted NSW's idiotic tactical blunder in State of Origin loss

The Blues winger scored after a beautiful kick from Nicho Hynes - and then they never kicked to him again.


Zac Lomax had an absolute blinder in his State of Origin debut for NSW on Wednesday night, but the Blues completely wasted him as an attacking threat. The Dragons winger had an astonishing 25 runs for 224 metres as the Blues went down to Queensland 38-10 in the opening game of the series.

Lomax was one of the shining lights for a badly-beaten NSW team - albeit one that was forced to play with 12 men for 72 minutes - and his leaping try was the highlight. Lomax is one of the biggest aerial threats in the NRL and has scored many a try by leaping above his opponents and coming down with the ball.

Nicho Hynes only put up one attacking kick for Zac Lomax - and it resulted in a try. Image: Getty/Channel 9
Nicho Hynes only put up one attacking kick for Zac Lomax - and it resulted in a try. Image: Getty/Channel 9

So why the hell did the Blues not kick to him more in attacking positions? The try he scored was just about the only time Nicho Hynes and NSW made a point of using Lomax as an attacking weapon in the air - and even then it came after their initial play had broken down and the ball hit the ground.

With the Blues down to 12 men, there was no way they were going to be able to play around the Maroons and get the ball with space on the edges. So why not kick to a one-on-one contest and make the most of Lomax's aerial abilities.

It's not like Lomax was matched up against Xavier Coates, who is another notable high-flyer. The Dragons winger was marking up against Murray Taulagi, who isn't nearly as good under the high ball as Coates.

Zac Lomax, pictured here leaping above Selwyn Cobbo to score the second try for NSW.
Zac Lomax leapt above Selwyn Cobbo to score the second try for NSW. Image: Getty
Zac Lomax in action for NSW against Queensland in State of Origin I.
Zac Lomax was one of the Blues' best in State of Origin I. Image: Getty

The try that Lomax scored made Taulagi and Selwyn Cobbo look very foolish. But inexplicably, the Blues never kicked to Lomax again. Instead Hynes persisted with putting up floaters in the middle of the field or kicking to Brian To'o's wing. To'o is one of the shortest wingers in the game and didn't even attempt to chase a couple of kicks that Coates or Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow caught easily.

To only kick to Lomax once was nothing short of idiotic and the blame should lay squarely at the feet of Hynes and NSW coach Michael Maguire. With Hynes already under pressure to retain his spot for Game II , it's doubtful his performance on Wednesday night will convince Maguire to retain him over the returning Mitchell Moses.

Hynes' kick to Lomax was his best moment, and he narrowly missed another try assist when he put Spencer Leniu into a hole with a lovely inside pass, only for Tabuai-Fidow to produce a brilliant try-saving effort. Maguire was reportedly keen on picking Moses for Game I but he didn't return from a foot injury until after the team was picked.

With Hynes producing an underwhelming display on Wednesday night it seems inevitable that Moses will come back in after starring in Game III last year. When pressed about his halfback's performance after the gane, Maguire played a straight bat. "I won't make any comment about someone's game until I go back and have a look at it," the coach said.

"There was a pretty disappointed change room and I'm not going to talk about people's performances here. I'll have a look at it first and talk to them individually."

James Tedesco also had a mixed bag and appears likely to make way for Dylan Edwards if the Panthers fullback can overcome the quad injury that ruled him out of Game I. And Latrell Mitchell, Bradman Best and Kotoni Staggs will all come into contention to replace Joseph Suaalii - who has been slapped with a four-game ban for the hit on Reece Walsh that saw him sent off.