Former NSW halfback Adam Reynolds believes targeted criticism of Mitchell Pearce after the Blues' series-deciding State of Origin loss to Queensland on Wednesday night is unfair.
Pearce was again under the spotlight following Queensland's 22-6 series victory on Thursday after missing a crucial tackle on Maroons debutant Cameron Munster in the second half and a kicking game that lacked overall creativity.
Reynolds featured in the opening two Origin fixtures for the Blues last season before succumbing to a shoulder injury prior to Game Three and could come into calculations for the No.7 role again should NSW choose to head in a new direction next season.
"It was obviously disappointing being a New South Welshman last night but Queensland were just too good on the night," Reynolds told NRL.com.
"I thought throughout the whole series we had the stronger team but as Queensland do they just always seem to find a way and proved that.
"It's a team sport and I don't think one player should be singularly criticised, it's just as simple as we weren't good enough across the board and especially in the middle.
"As a half you've always got to look for ways to get yourself out of it if it's not working and come up with alternatives. That's the biggest challenge of the game for me but sometimes it can be tough."
The inclusion of Munster proved instrumental for the Maroons and reassured fans that Queensland's dominance could continue after Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith hang up their boots.
Reynolds credited the Melbourne Storm set-up for continually breeding the game's next crop of stars.
Of Melbourne's top 17 that played the Broncos a fortnight ago, only three players – Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Joe Stimson and Mark Nicholls – are yet to play representative football.
Injured centre Cheyse Blair was missing from the line-up but featured in the Country Origin side earlier in the season. Both Felise Kaufusi and Dale Finucane were reserves for the Maroons and Blues respectively for Origin III.
"It definitely comes through the Storm," Reynolds said.
"Whoever comes through their system seems to succeed and they keep producing talent. They bring players through or to the club and just look comfortable in rep teams instantly.
"You only have to look at when they played the Roosters a few weeks ago with a fair few of their big names out and they never missed a beat."
The Rabbitohs head to Cairns for their annual home fixture on Sunday and after dropping the last two games in the Northern state, will be out searching for a quick turnaround after their disappointing loss to the Roosters last start.
While the Cowboys will be without Johnathan Thurston, the form of new halves pairing Michael Morgan and Te Maire Martin against the Raiders was enough to suggest the 2015 premiers are still a chance to push deep into finals contention.
South Sydney were not happy with their overall performance against their cross-town rivals and Reynolds believes it's now or never if the side wanted to make a late push to feature in September football.
"It's always a great spot to play and we always love our time up there," he said.
"If we get ourselves right after last week then we have our best chance, that's the task for us to bounce back and put in an 80-minute performance.
"The table is still tight and we've basically got to win every game from here on in and we're doing everything in our powers on the training paddock to kick-start it on Sunday."
This article first appeared on NRL.com