State of Origin is often described as a game of inches, and NSW debutant Tyson Frizell learned the hard way in the Blues’ series-deciding loss in Brisbane.
Arguably the Blues’ best player in Wednesday night’s defeat, he was twice involved in match-turning moments.
In the first half, he went millimetres from etching his name in interstate folklore when he almost completed an 80-metre chasedown of flying Queensland winger Dane Gagai.
The hat-trick hero only just managed to get the ball over the line inside the corner post.
“The further I got, I thought I could get him but, the closer he got to the tryline, I knew I had to make a play or he would’ve stretched over,” Frizell said.
“I thought I had him, but was millimetres out of it. It’s disappointing I didn’t make that big play and take him out.”
Then, with the Blues down by four points late in the second half, the St George Illawarra forward was denied a potential game-winning try when the bunker found the slightest of knock-ons by Michael Jennings.
There was a fingernail in it, and Frizell said it summed up their game.
“It’s what happened throughout the game,” he said.
“We were always an inch off and Queensland did a good job there. We let them off the hook there a couple of times coming out of our own end.
“When we did get those opportunities down their end, we did cause some trouble and that’s something we need to learn from.
“There’s still one more game to go and we’re looking to finish the series off with a win.”
Fellow debutant Jack Bird said Frizell, rushed into the game-two team following the suspension of Wade Graham during the week, deserved to be retained for game three.
“I thought Tyson was unbelievable tonight. That effort (on Gagai), he didn’t have to do that,” he said.
“Watching from the sideline, I thought he was going to get there. Another five metres and he had him covered.
“Just the effort he put in, they’re the one per centers you need in football. I think Tyson played unbelievable on debut. He deserves another jersey.”
It not only completed a bittersweet debut for the 24-year-old, but also ended any chance of a fairytale series win for departing skipper Paul Gallen.
“We really wanted to win that game for Paul Gallen,” he said.
“It’s something that a few of the boys spoke about. He served the state awesome for the past several years and we really wanted to keep the series alive and do it for him. It’s just unfortunate that we didn’t get that win.”