New South Wales claimed a dominant 6-50 victory over Queensland in Townsville in Game I of the 2021 State of Origins series.
Manly Sea Eagles full-back Tom Trbojevic crossed for a hat-trick, while Penrith Panthers winger Brian To’o scored a brace on his State of Origin debut.
Paul Green took charge of his first Queensland game and named Cameron Munster and skipper Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves, while hooker Harry Grant returned from injury to start for the Maroons.
Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt was the only debutant for Queensland.
Three Penrith players in To’o, Jarome Luai and Liam Martin were rewarded with New South Wales debuts following their impressive start to the 2021 NRL season and Api Koroisau was also named as 18th man.
As expected, it was a fierce start to the game and a Nathan Cleary penalty conversion broke the deadlock just before the 10-minute mark, and Trbojevic, playing in the centres, scored the first try of the series in the 18th minute, converted by Cleary for a 0-8 lead in the opening quarter.
To’o extended New South Wales’ lead on 21 minutes to score out-wide on his debut following a great long range break from Blues number nine Damien Cook, converted by Latrell Mitchell this time for a 0-14 lead as Cleary received treatment for a cut.
Forward Christian Welch was ruled out of the rest of the game with a head knock in the first half, and it was the in-form To’o who scored his second on 28 minutes with an assist from St George Illawarra Dragons forward Tariq Sims for a 0-20 scoreline.
Kurt Capewell hit back for Queensland’s to score his first Origin try on 34 minutes for a 6-20 score going into the half-time break.
New South Wales extended their lead on the 49th minute through Mitchell, who was the first to chase a slick grubber kick from Trbojevic.
A break from Luai on 58 minutes found Mitchell in support, who went on to find Trbojevic to bag a brace as he went under the sticks for 6-32, before Mitchell scored his own just two minutes later for a 6-38 score.
Newcastle Knights forward Daniel Saifiti was the next to score for the Blues as he crashed over under the sticks, before Trbojevic completed his hat-trick on the 68th minute to hit the half century for New South Wales.
The two sides meet again on Sunday, June 27, at Suncorp Stadium.