The wonderful moment that defined the snatching of the Maroons

The Maroons held a six-point lead in the final 10 minutes of the State of Origin opener, with Brad Fitler’s blues throwing the kitchen sink at their opponents.

Inside Acre Stadium, 80,000-strong crowds chanted slogans "New South Wales" And the Blues were regularly attacking half the Maroons on the ground.

In the 74th minute, blues debutant Stephen Crichton, who has struggled in the Panthers color for the past two seasons to try to have fun, tried to avoid Cameron Munster on the way to the try line.

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The only problem was that Munster, an Origin veteran now in his sixth expedition, snatched the ball from the hands of the 21-year-old one step further, returning possession to the Maroons.

It was a big-time game of a big-time player, and surprised those who were accustomed to their own clutch drama.

Cameron Munster

"There are 90,000 people in the stadium, only one person would think," Blues icon Andrew Johns shouted about Nine’s coverage.

"When you are 10 meters away from your line under pressure, who would want to do that? That’s a superstar. What a player."

Cameron Smith, a former Munster representative and captain of the club, was equally surprised.

"These big dramas are here, 12 meters away from the Queensland triline, who cares to do that?" He said.

"I know Stephen Crichton wasn’t there, he didn’t expect Cameron Munster to snatch the ball. If he has the ball in his hand, he just enchants the defenders."

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Munster finished the match with 19 runs, 188 meters gain and eight tackle breaks and was named Man of the Match, comparing him to the great Wally Lewis for his iconic Origin I performance in the process.

"The way he’s playing, he’s getting closer to (Lewis)," Maroon icon Paul tells ‘Fatty’ Vatin Nine.

"He was an innate player, as was Wally Lewis. Wally was not formed by any imagination, but he was innate, and so was Cameron Munster.

"He and Kalin Ponga, when they do, something good happens to Queensland."

Munster, much like his teammates, gasped for breath in the moments after the final whistle, straining each sign in the second game to take a 1-0 lead over Perth.

Cameron Munster

"This is going to be one of the hardest games I’ve ever played," He said Nine’s Post Game Panel.

"There are no penalties in the first half and no more in the second half and it shows that the way I speak, I’m still trying to catch my breath.

"This is the best thing about Origin, how fast the game."

Part of Munster’s brilliance comes from his ability to combine ad-hoc football with a structured, disciplined game, allowing him to run through an opposing defense at any moment. According to Smith, the ability to combine the two is a trait acquired over time.

"This is an element of his game that he has developed over the last few years, where he has put some structures (his game)," Storm icon said.

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"He always plays at his most dangerous when he cuffs off. He just gets the ball, keeps looking, and if he sees an opportunity or a way to run the ball, he runs.

"He has the ability to hold the ball with both hands, he looks over, he looks down, he looks back inside to support and the defenders just look at the ball.

"I think it’s part of his game that he’s improved a lot in the last few years, especially in my last season in 2020 he went to another level. She has matured a lot, grown a lot in her off-season and she is getting rewards for it right now."

With the Maroons playing a heroic role in the unlikely 2020 victory, Munster already has a Wally Lewis medal in his possession. Continue it and he will trot from Suncorp Stadium after his second game.

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