Queensland's pathetic reaction to Reece Walsh and Latrell Mitchell incident that summed up Origin 2

None of the Maroons players seemed to care that Mitchell wiped out Walsh way after the ball was dead.

Phil Gould wasn't wrong when he said Queensland played 'soft' in State of Origin 2, and nothing summed it up better than their reaction to Latrell Mitchell's late hit on Reece Walsh. The Maroons were blown off the park by NSW in Game 2 at the MCG, with the Blues running in six first-half tries for a 34-0 lead.

You could see that Queensland weren't up for the contest right from the kick-off, when Reuben Cotter got shoved to the ground by Mitchell Moses - one of the smallest men on the field - as he was jogging back to get in position. The Maroons produced a number of weak efforts in the first half that showed how shell-shocked they were.

Reece Walsh and Queensland teammates in State of Origin 2.
None of Reece Walsh's teammates did anything after Latrell Mitchell's ugly hit. Image: Channel 9/Getty

But nothing summed it up better than when none of the Queensland players remonstrated with Mitchell for his off-the-ball shove on Walsh. Mitchell came through and pushed Walsh to the ground - well after the Queensland fullback had knocked the ball over the dead-ball line. It could've arguably been a penalty to the Maroons, but none of Walsh's teammates even batted an eyelid to Mitchell's hit that fans called 'dirty' and 'grubby'.

Imagine the response of Liam Martin and his NSW teammates if one of the Queensland players had taken out debutant fullback Dylan Edwards way after the ball was dead. It would have been on for young and old.

Last year the Maroons had Tom Gilbert to hold the NSW players to account, and the Dolphins enforcer didn't let the Blues players get away with anything grubby. This year they don't have anyone playing that 'enforcer' role, although Felise Kaufusi could arguably fall into that category.

Latrell Mitchell, pictured here after he shoved Reece Walsh well after the ball was dead.
Latrell Mitchell shoved Reece Walsh well after the ball was dead, but none of the Queensland players did anything about it. Image: Channel 9

Kaufusi only played 10 minutes off the bench in Game 2, but he was one of the Maroons players who saw Mitchell's cheap shot on Walsh and did absolutely nothing. Mitchell treated Walsh like a rag doll all night, and got into the young fullback's head because none of the Maroons did anything about it.

When Cotter finally did decide to retaliate, he got palmed in the face by Angus Crichton in a big 'don't argue' - in an embarrassing moment for Queensland. Cotter seemed to realise that Crichton's hit on Valentine Holmes was actually perfectly legal, and was forced into a humiliating backdown.

Another Queensland player who finally snapped was Patrick Carrigan, although he got sent to the sin-bin (rather controversially) for running in and exacerbating a melee when Martin patted Jaydn Sua on the head after a dropped ball. The only explanation for Queensland's limp display and lack of fire was that coach Billy Slater had told them not to retaliate to any of the NSW niggle in fear someone would be sent to the bin.

But if that was the tactic, it backfired in a big way. The Maroons' performance on Wednesday night was one of the weakest from a Queensland team in many years, and Gould reckons it was because they knew they had their Suncorp Stadium fortress to fall back on if the series went to a deciding third game.

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NSW have only ever won two deciders at Suncorp, and Gould reckons the Maroons know it. "We witnessed men against boys," he said on Channel 9. "This was over very early. I got the feeling right from the time Stephen Crichton first touched the ball and ran over his opponent steaming down the right hand side that physically NSW were superior here tonight.

"We have seen this before though, and I think I said it in the lead up to this game that Queensland when they're 1-0 in the series and they know they've got Queensland up their sleeve in Game 3, can be soft in Game 2. I think they came here with a soft mentality."

Queensland journalist Robert Craddock summed up it best, writing: "They had the thought of that soft and luxuriously warm safety net (of Suncorp Stadium) running through their heads and played like a team who simply couldn’t concentrate on the present. It was a dreadful performance."