But when presented with the moment to dispel a widely held opinion that he requires a pack of Strepsils when thrust under the bright lights, the 27-year-old instead got lost in them.

The Blues’ attack looked directionless, and often his contributions yielded the dysfunction that he’s assigned to avoid from happening.

His highlight reel moment, a well-placed cross-field kick that was made to look even better thanks to the aerial ability of Dragons winger Zac Lomax, glossed over what was a coaches’ guide on how to butcher an attacking set.

At 20-6, following a one-on-one strip from Angus Crichton that wrestled back the momentum just after half-time, the halfback needed to do more than just point at the goal posts.

When the Blues needed someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck Hynes looked timid.

A couple of tackles later he stood beside hooker Reece Robson and, through a lack of options, took a run himself without any regard to what needed to unfold in a set that left you questioning whether it was a reflection of the No.7’s game management skills or a lack of detail to the game plan from Maguire.

Maguire said it best when he said nothing at all on Hynes. Next breath he heaped praise on two teammates. Welcome back Mitchell Moses.

Fifteen minutes later, with the Blues dominating the contest, they had the opportunity to continue to apply pressure with a good last-tackle option.

Instead, Hynes went into dummy half, covering for a gassed Robson who couldn’t quite make it into position, and delivered the last tackle play for Lomax to put up an ordinary kick that saw Queensland start the set with all the momentum. They went on to score.

The coach said it best when he said nothing at all after he was quizzed on Hynes’ performance after full-time.

“I won’t make any comment about someone’s game until they go back and have a look at it,” Maguire said in his trademark flat-batting style.

Blues coach Michael Maguire.

Blues coach Michael Maguire.Credit: Kate Geraghty

Although in the next breath he then heaped praise on Angus Crichton and Payne Haas for their performances. Welcome back Mitchell Moses.

The coach musn’t be absolved of blame, either. The criticism of Maguire’s predecessor Brad Fittler revolved largely around his use of the interchange bench.

The critics last year asked what Fittler was thinking when he brought Hynes on to defend at centre after Tom Trbojevic left the field in game one with 12 minutes remaining, culminating in the missed tackle that saw Cameron Munster put Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow over to give a 12-man Queensland side the win.

What was Fittler thinking just three weeks later when, again, Trbojevic left the field with a pectoral injury and he asked bench hooker Damien Cook to defend at centre for the majority of a game that culminated in Queensland winning the series.

Joseph Suaalii is given his marching orders by referee Ashley Klein.

Joseph Suaalii is given his marching orders by referee Ashley Klein.Credit: Getty Images

Maguire, though, thought he had the answers. All week, in response to criticism of not naming a back on the bench as cover, Maguire spoke about the versatility of Hudson Young.

“Huddo went out there in the centres,” Maguire said in the post-match press conference. What he failed to mention was the 50 minutes that expired between Suaalii leaving the field and the coach unleashing his super-sub into the game.

“It takes a bit of time to try and get that adjustment,” Maguire went on to say. That time, the 20-odd minutes before Stephen Crichton switched sides, was enough for Queensland to inflict a couple of significant blows that thwarted any hope of a NSW miracle.

“I don’t think anyone has ever planned for a send-off in an Origin game,” Maguire also said.

Potential NSW team for game two

  1. James Tedesco
  2. Zac Lomax
  3. Latrell Mitchell
  4. Stephen Crichton
  5. Brian To’o
  6. Jarome Luai
  7. Mitchell Moses
  8. Jake Trbojevic
  9. Reece Robson
  10. Payne Haas
  11. Liam Martin
  12. Angus Crichton
  13. Cameron McInnes/Cameron Murray (if fit)
  14. Isaah Yeo
  15. Spencer Leniu
  16. Matt Burton
  17. Api Koroisau

Well, his Queensland counterpart didn’t have to combat playing with 12 men, but he negated the threat of losing his best player in Reece Walsh by picking Selwyn Cobbo on the bench as a just-in-case. The question will now be asked if 18th man Matt Burton should’ve been just that for the Blues.

The NSW coach went with a team that prioritised defence over attack. That focused more on off-the-ball grit than on-the-ball glamour.

The shutdown instead of shutout approach left the Blues short of a game-breaker. Latrell Mitchell’s cryptic Instagram post of him staring at the television could have been interpreted as “are you sure you don’t need me?”


Maguire must swallow his pride, regardless of how many times Mitchell has or hasn’t picked up his phone call in the last few weeks, and pick a man who strikes fear into the opposition.

There should also be a push to bring back Wests Tigers captain Api Koroisau and play him on the bench to provide the creativity that Robson had no energy to even attempt to produce given his work rate in the middle.

Cameron Murray isn’t expected to play for South Sydney before game two, but you can be assured that the Blues will put him through their own medical assessment, just as they did with Cody Walker before game one. He’s a must.