Cordner's selfless act to own loss

With speculation growing louder that this will be Laurie Daley's final series as coach of New South Wales, the question was put to him as to whose shoulders the responsibility for the loss should fall on.

As Daley moved to defend the 17-man playing group that he had shepherded through this Holden State of Origin Series by accepting the entirety of the blame himself, Cordner spoke up for the first time in the post-match press conference to stand in front of the bullet.

NSW Blues players rally around coach Laurie Daley amid uncertain future

aley is off contract at the end of this series and speculation is rife that the coach — who has been tormented by close losses to one of the greatest sides in rugby league history — is ready to walk away.

With just one series win — the 2014 cliffhanger — to hang his hat on, it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that Daley would not have his contract renewed by the NSWRL should his side fail at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday.

However, win and he will have a record of two series wins and three losses from five attempts, a commendable effort given the quality of the opposition.

The two men who can give Queensland the blues

Hayne is undoubtedly one of the game's most damaging stars and has shown flashes of brilliance throughout the series, including a try in each of the first two Origins.  

However, his final 20 minutes in the Game Two loss at ANZ Stadium left some questioning whether he should be retained for the July 12 decider after Hayne came up with a couple of errors, including a shocking behind-the-back flick pass that let Queensland off the hook just when the Blues were going in for the kill. 

Smith lauds 'unbelievable' Maroons match-winner Thurston

Thurston, who will retire from Maroons duty after this year's matches with New South Wales Blues, missed his first Origin match since 2004 last month - the veteran sidelined through injury as Laurie Daley's side recorded a comprehensive victory in Brisbane.

However, the Australia playmaker was back for game two in Sydney on Wednesday and held his nerve to land a decisive kick in the 78th minute, after Dane Gagai's second try had enabled Queensland to cancel out a 10-point half-time deficit.

Former Blue labels Fifita the best yet

Plucked from obscurity after just 14 first grade games for North Sydney, Johnston was one of six debutants rushed into the New South Wales team for Game Two in 1983 but was at Lang Park three years earlier as a member of the NSW under-18s team, a night forever remembered as the one and only time Beetson ever played for Queensland.

Blues blame venue for Apia flop

The Blues edged the Queensland Reds 34-29 in Apia on Friday but the 8000-capacity stadium was less than half-full, prompting criticism on social media that ticket prices were too expensive.

Outspoken former Samoa international Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu told New Zealand radio that the Blues management were "ignorant" and "arrogant" in their approach to the game in the developing country.

Samoa Super Rugby clash a chance to give back

The Blues region is home to about 150,000 Samoans while the team itself has a number of players with Samoan heritage, as well as head coach Tana Umaga.

"We've seen the amount of Samoan players that are playing overseas and it's good to take something back to the islands," he said.

"We saw it with obviously other teams going to Fiji and now it's Samoa's time. It will showcase what they can do and how they can cater for these big games, which is a positive," said Tana Umaga.

The family of Blues and All Black lock Patrick Tuipolotu emigrated to New Zealand from Samoa.

Charlie Ngatai unlikely for Blues clash

After his year out following a head knock last season, Ngatai missed the match against the Crusaders in Fiji last Friday after reporting a headache post-training on the Monday. The team played it safe and kept him from travelling with the squad overseas the following day.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said while Ngatai was on the improve, he was unlikely to play a part at Eden Park.

"Charlie's pretty good," he said. "He's had about four days symptom-free. But we're unlikely to use him this week. We want to be really sure.

Matt Duffie cleared for Blues

Blues wing Matt Duffie has escaped a suspension after the first red card of his Super Rugby career.

The 26-year-old rugby league convert was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in the Blue's 30-22 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.

Duffie's first yellow came for repeated team infringing - four successive penalties early in the match. His second for diving on a player on the ground. 

A Sanzaar judicial committee has upheld the red card but said it did not warrant further punishment.

Tana Umaga wants answers from refs boss

Francis is expected to miss Friday's match against the Chiefs at Eden Park due to concussion after copping an errant swinging arm from Stormers second five-eighth Shaun Treeby on the chin in the 47th minute.

Speaking after the 30-22 loss which probably ends the Blues' playoff hopes, Umaga said the team doctor confirmed Francis was unconscious as a result of the blow. The first-five was taken from the field and replaced by Bryn Gatland.