NSW pulled off a stunning 50-6 demolition of Queensland in Townsville to kick off the hotly-anticipated 2021 Origin series.
The Maroons were gifted an advantage when the game was moved away from Melbourne because of Covid-19 but it was the Blues who dominated early to take a 20-6 lead at halftime.
Stream selected Fox League shows on Kayo Freebies completely free this June including NRL 360, Sunday Night with Matty Johns, Big League Wrap & more. No Credit Card. No Brainer. Register Free Now >
NSW put Queensland to the sword in a first half demolition job — and it continued early in the second half.
Latrell Mitchell plunged the first nail in the Maroons’ coffin in the 45th minute when he dived on a loose ball and forced his way over. It gave the Blues a 26-6 lead with Queensland hanging on for dear life.
The Blues delivered the knockout punch with 20 minutes still to play when Jarome Luai cut a hole in the Maroons’ defence before the ball ended up in Tom Trbojevic’s hands.
He dived over for his second try, which put NSW ahead 32-6 in the 60th minute.
The Manly superstar made it three tries next to his name nine minutes later, sliding over under the posts for his first Origin hat-trick. Queensland were dead and buried, faltering in their defence as NSW notched up eight tries to their one by the final 10 minutes.
Cleary slotted his seventh conversion of the night (not including a penalty goal early in the first half) to bring up the visitors’ half-century, with the score 50-6 in the closing stanza.
Rugby league great Peter Sterling lamented Queensland’s monumental loss, their first under new coach Paul Green. The incredible margin makes it the worst debut for an Origin coach on record.
“I have no doubt we will see a different game at Suncorp in game number two,” he said from the commentary box. “But there’s a lot of ground to make up. Very keen to hear Paul Green’s reaction coming out of this game. An inauspicious start for him but things will get better but they’ve got to get better very quickly.”
The Blues were one try away from the biggest tally in State of Origin history — NSW 56-16 in game 3 2000 — and two points short of the biggest ever win — Queensland’s 52-6 in game 3 back in 2015.
Queensland had no answers. Pics Adam HeadSource:News Corp Australia
The Blues were ahead 20-0 after only 28 minutes as Manly star Trbojevic enjoyed the game of his life.
The Blues’ only concern was a gruesome head injury to halfback Nathan Cleary. The Panthers star had a sickening accidental collision with Trbojevic’s elbow and started streaming blood.
The ugly sight of him playing on with a deep cut angered some fans. He was eventually forced from the field late in the first half to have the wound assessed.
It was only when he was off the field that Queensland fought their way back into the contest with a late try before the break.
Cleary was able to return to the field for the second half and there were no more hiccups for the visitors.
Cleary’s face was a mess.Source:Getty Images
The Maroons earlier had prop Christian Welch forced out of the game after he failed a HIA concussion assessment, seriously depleting their forward pack.
Trbojevic was everywhere in the first half and he was the first try scorer of the game. It was only a late four-pointer to Kurt Capewell that kept Queensland in the game, with the Blues taking a 20-6 lead heading into the second half.
Capewell’s try was also Trbojevic’s only blemish after he let the Queensland centre slip through his fingers near the tryline.
It was a cardinal sin from Maroons debutant Kyle Feldt that allowed NSW to score the opening try of the night when Trbojevic darted on the outside of Capewell and sliced his way over the line.
It came after Feldt had taken out Josh Addo-Carr in a clumsy block that brought the speedster to the ground as he chased down a kick, gifting the Blues a penalty.
The Blues had another one five minutes later when Brian To’o dived over in the corner. His try came on the back of a line break from Damien Cook. The Rabbitohs No. 9 cut Queensland apart when he darted out of dummy-half and found James Tedesco.
The Blues were all over the Maroons at the time.
They landed another crushing blow through To’o out wide as he crossed for another touchdown. The Panthers star was unmarked on the wing and it was a brilliant pass from Tariq Sims that got the ball to him. Sims stood strong in a tackle and through a perfect long ball to To’o when Dane Gagai was unable to bring him down.
Source: Read Full Article