Queensland has taken Game 1 of the 2022 State of Origin series with a passionate 16-10 win against New South Wales tonight at Stadium Australia.
The Maroons got only their tenth win at Stadium Australia with a gusty win against a misjointed Blues side in front of 80.512 fans on Wednesday night with a powerhouse performance from five-eighth Cameron Munster.
From the opening exchanges, it was set up for an absorbing game of Origin football. Blues created the first chance through the Panthers connection of Jarome Luai and Liam Martin but the pass went to ground, which was a symptom of the Blues night.
Blues were the first side to hit the scoreboard through Jack Wighton. The Raiders centre finished off a nice backline movement from the scrum to make it 4-0 after Nathan Cleary's kick thudded off the post.
Just before the break, Queensland counter punched after being a few false starts earlier in the half. A wonderful pick-up from debutant Selwyn Cobbo before he toed it ahead for Dane Gagai to stroll over to make it 6-4 at the break.
Coming out of the break, Queensland were the side more likely. Munster broke open the Blues defence which was a warning sign for the home side. Minutes later, Daly Cherry-Evans sliced through from a scrum play to make it 12-4.
It was another one of Queensland's best on the night which put their advantage out to twelve. Kalyn Ponga provided the pass for Valentine Holmes to dive over untouched in the left corner for a 16-4 lead.
The key component of Queensland's win was their scramble defence. Several times the Blues made breaks down the field but they were denied by desperate efforts from both Holmes and Munster particularly.
The home side decided in the final twenty to lift their effort and get back into the contest. James Tedesco was involved in much of the action and almost created a four-pointer for Nathan Cleary but was scuppered.
A nice short ball from Luai found a charging Cameron Murray who broke through the line to bring the scoreline back to 16-10. NSW had several half chances through Wighton and Issah Yeo, but the latter was grassed inches from the line for a massive Queensland win.
Now attention turns to Perth for Game 2! How will the Blues adjust their side to level the series or will it be another superb effort from Queensland under debutant coach Billy Slater to capture the Origin Shield. Find out in a few weeks!