State of Origin 2022 may be only 80 minutes old, but for New South Wales, the series is as good as losing.
The original football cycle went on – Queensland dominated for a decade when the likes of Cameron Smith, Cooper Crank, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Darius Boyd and co were at their top.
Then came the Blues’ turn in recent years, with the emergence of James Tedesco, Tom Trobozevic, Lateral Mitchell, Cameron Murray and the fearless young Penrith Dynamo.
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But on Wednesday night it was seen that the wheel was turning again.
Few would argue that Cam Munster is now the best player in the world when youngsters Selwyn Cobo, Ruben Cutter, Harry Grant, Lindsay Collins and Patrick Carrigan breathed new life into a struggling Queensland team.
Cotter and Carrigan produced remarkable work rates in attack and defense, and the Blues did not match their enthusiasm.
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Brad Fitler will have to switch to Game Two as he tries to save the series – but where he finds the young forwards ready to go to Origin to manage the aggressive, work-hungry Queensland pack, I don’t know.
The teams that lose one of the series lose the series almost 80 percent of the time in Origin history.
If you lose a game at home, that figure will be close to 90 percent.
Nathan Cleary had the worst game in the blues jumper but a team that didn’t have him on full back legs helped him.
Unexpectedly out-of-form referee Ashley Klein did not help the Blues by allowing Queensland to wrestle and slow down the play-off speed but the Maroons were always a good team and the final score pleased the Blues.
It is now up to Fitler to lift his troops off the canvas for Perth in three weeks – but to me this is seen as a mission impossible in the wake of an impressive Queensland victory.
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