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Casualty ward: battered Blues showed true grit

Injured NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce is taken from the field.
Injured NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce is taken from the field. DAVE HUNT

THEY'RE the busted Blues who refused to quit.

Nathan Peats played on one leg for more than 40 minutes.

Mitchell Pearce took a trip to La La Land after his face wore the shoulder of Will Chambers.

Brett Morris feared he'd damaged his troublesome left knee which had to be surgically repaired in late 2015.

And new skipper Boyd Cordner limped from the sheds in Suncorp Stadium with ice heavily strapped to his left knee.

Peats' efforts were nothing less than heroic. He was gone.

It was very late in the first half of their 28-4 win over Queensland when the hooker took a huge knock to the leg as he attempted to tackle Will Chambers.

The knee of the Queensland centre hit Peats flush on the meaty part of his quad, right above the kneecap and he could barely get up.

It got worse when he bumped it again in the second stanza.

"I got one on the inside of the knee in the first half," Peats explained.

"Will Chambers lifts his knees when he runs and it got me flush in the quad.

"I was battling. I was on one leg for pretty much the whole half but fortunately the boys looked after me and we ran over them in the second half."

Peats was in so much discomfort, coach Laurie Daley was ready to take him off but then Josh Dugan started to struggle.

It was Dugan's first game back from a fractured cheekbone and fatigue had set in.

 

Nathan Peats of the NSW Blues.
Nathan Peats of the NSW Blues. DAVE HUNT

Daley had to make a decision. Either take off the debutant or give Dugan a breather.

The rookie No.9 put the team first and dug deep.

"He was (gone)," Daley revealed.

"He suffered a massive corked thigh. We were trying to get him off and Duges was struggling through match fitness. He's a tough bugger and said, 'No, I'll battle it out.'"

In Peats' mind, leaving the field was never a consideration.

It was his Blues debut and nothing was going to spoil it.

He'd backed himself to push out 80 minutes and he did just that, producing a game-high 46 tackles in the process.

"It was a good nine out of 10 cork," he said.

"I was never going to come off."

That was just one example of bravery.

Morris produced another when he soldiered on after getting pulled into an awkward position midway through the first half.

Nate Myles had fallen on top of his legs and Morris was twisted up. It was a heart skipping a beat kind of moment.

"It was more the shock of being put in that position," Morris said of his knee.

"It was a pretty uncomfortable position. I've had a couple of knee injuries in the past so it's something that goes through your mind 'oh what's this?' but once I started moving around I realised it wasn't as bad as I thought.

"It's Origin, you're not going to waste a sub for a niggle like that. It's a little bit sore but it'll be right."

While Peats nurses a tender right leg, Pearce is nursing a sore head.

He was left motionless in the 50th minute after being blindsided by Chambers as he pushed a pass to his outside.

Despite failing to return, his teammate Wade Graham said the half was in good spirits post-match.

"He's good," Graham said of the No.7.

"It was big contact but that's the game we play. Unfortunately things like that happen.

"He'll take his time over the next couple of days, the Roosters will look after him and he'll be back playing when he's ready to go."

Topics:  nsw blues state of origin 2017

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