New South Wales, featuring 11 debutants and led by Man-of-the-match James Tedesco, earned a 22-12 victory over Queensland to win Origin I at the MCG in Victoria.
After a slow start for New South Wales in which they struggled to gain yards out of their own end, they took a stranglehold on the game by forcing two dropouts. The pressure eventually told and they took two points through James Maloney to start.
Soon after, Damien Cook’s first foray out of dummy half produced a break for Maloney. The stand-off found James Tedesco on his inside who had the pace to finish.
The Blues were well on top. But Maloney threw his pass straight to Valentine Holmes. As soon as he got the ball 80 metres out, the end result was in no doubt.
Holmes’ try regained the ascendancy for the Maroons but New South Wales did well to keep their two-point lead intact by the break.
But their lead lasted only three minutes in the second half. Ben Hunt’s grubber kick on the last found Dane Gagai who continued his excellent Origin form after winning the Wally Lewis Medal in 2017.
Only five minutes later, Tedesco freed Latrell Mitchell who just managed to swivel and ground the ball to level the scores with Maloney missing the conversion.
It wasn’t long before the Blues regained their lead. Tedesco motored up field. When tackled, Maloney kicked wide for Tom Trbojevic who took the ball from Holmes to ground the ball.
Queensland, now six behind but inspired by captain Greg Inglis, weren’t panicking and slowly took complete control of the game physically and territorially but an error from Cameron Munster halted that momentum. New South Wales were holding on.
The Blues got their reward when Tedesco broke up the middle and bounced off Michael Morgan’s tackle. His offload was shifted left to Josh Addo-Carr who finished well.
The Blues saw out the game well and almost scored through Mitchell and Addo-Carr in the dying minutes.
New South Wales: Tedesco, T Trbojevic, Mitchell, Roberts, Addo-Carr, Maloney, Cleary, Klemmer, Cook, Campbell-Gillard, Cordner, Frizell, de Belin; Interchanges: Vaughan, J Trbojevic, Crichton, Peachey
Tries: Tedesco, Mitchell, T Trbojevic, Addo-Carr; Goals: Maloney 3
Queensland: Morgan, Holmes, Inglis, Chambers, Gagai, Munster, Hunt, Napa, McCullough, Wallace, Cooper, Kaufusi, McGuire; Interchanges: Papalii, Hess, Arrow, Milford
Tries: Holmes, Gagai; Goals: Holmes 2
Full match report from Origin I and the full NRL round will feature in Monday’s League Express.