Brad Fittler won his first game in charge of New South Wales as they defeated Queensland 22-12 in the opening game of 2018 State of Origin.
New South Wales coach Brad Fittler named a record of 11 debutants for game one. Josh Addo-Carr, James Roberts, Latrell Mitchell, Tom Trbojevic, Nathan Cleary, Damien Cook, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Paul Vaughan, Angus Crichton, Jack De Belin and Tyrone Peachey all got the nod for the Blues.
Kevin Walters handed three Origin debuts to Queenslanders Andrew McCullough, Felise Kaufusi and Jai Arrow.
The game started at a very quick pace. The Blues took the lead after Queensland were caught interfering at the play-the-ball. James Maloney added a penalty goal from bang in front to put his side 2-0 up after 17 minutes.
New South Wales were playing some really exciting rugby in the first half. Cook made a flying break on the halfway line and laid it off to Maloney who assisted the supporting Tedesco who scored. Maloney added the extras, New South Wales 8-0 Queensland.
Queensland got right back into the game though as Valentine Holmes intercepted a Maloney pass to dart 80 metres and score for the Maroons. He converted his own try, but they trailed 8-6 at the break.
The Maroons shot out of the blocks in the second half and scored just two minutes after the restart. Dane Gagai latched onto a grubber from Ben Hunt to score. Holmes’ boot put Queensland in a 12-8 lead.
Mitchell levelled the score on his State of Origin debut. He got the better of Gagai, Hunt and Michael Morgan out wide to touch down.
The Blues went back in front in the 50thminute. Tom Trbojevic stole the ball from Holmes following a high kick from Maloney to score. The conversion was on point from Maloney and the Blues were 18-12 to the good.
Addo-Carr put New South Wales in breathing distance thanks to a sublime finish following a sublime break from Italy full-back Tedesco. Maloney couldn’t convert though.
Mitchell and Addo-Carr had efforts chalked off by the video referees late on, but it didn’t matter anyway as Fittler won his first game in charge of New South Wales as the Blues beat the Maroons 22-12 in Melbourne.
New South Wales: Tedesco; T Trbojevic, Mitchell, Roberts, Addo-Carr; Maloney, Cleary; Klemmer, Cook, Campbell-Gillard, Cordner, Frizell, De Belin. Subs: Vaughan, J Trbojevic, Crichton, Peachey.
Queensland: Morgan; Holmes, Inglis, Chambers, Gagai; Munster, Hunt; Napa, McCullough, Wallace, Cooper, Kaufusi, McGuire. Subs: Papalii, Hess, Arrow, Milford.
Starman: James Tedesco was incredible for the Blues. He came up with some freakish attacking plays and even got a try.