Despite NSW coach Laurie Daley’s assurances, halves Mitchell Pearce and Trent Hodkinson say they expect to come under scrutiny ahead of the second State of Origin clash.
The selection of Pearce ahead of incumbent Josh Reynolds was questioned in the lead up, however Daley said he would stick with his pivots for game two in Melbourne in three weeks.
“Mitch did everything that was asked of him – they will be back for game two, there’s a headline for you,” Daley said.
While both were solid, with Pearce in particular fantastic with the boot making 524 metres, the side’s decision making and execution at key moments was poor.
“I don’t know if there’s going to be no discussion about (the NSW halves pairing selection),” Hodkinson said.
“There’ll be plenty of it, I reckon and I’ll just brace myself.
“I’m confident, I’m pretty happy with how I went tonight. It was a solid performance but I’ll just have to go back to club (football) now.”
Queensland gained the ascendancy early in the second half when Hodkinson crucially failed to find touch from a penalty.
The Bulldogs playmaker said it strayed off the boot after it stuck to his hand because of the sticky-grip spray he had just applied.
NSW had two opportunities to slot field goals, but on both occasions the chances were blown.
Hodkinson looked set up to take a shot in the dying minutes, however captain and hooker Robbie Farah inexplicably passed to fullback Josh Dugan who was forced into a rushed attempt.
On another, Pearce decided to run the ball when they were in field goal range, a choice the Sydney Roosters half admits was a mistake.
“We probably should have gone for field goal there,” Pearce said.
“It’s disappointing … I’ll have to watch it back but we had a chance on the last tackle, we probably should have set it up a bit better.”