1. Blues debutants look at home in Origin arena
The Blues blooded three debutants in the State of Origin opener, and they looked more than capable of playing at the level. Winger Brian To’o scored two tries and ran for 220 metres from his 26 runs with two linebreaks. To’o was set up by the aggressive play of five-eighth Jarome Luai through the middle of the field. His devastating speed and playmaking ability proved to be valuable as he was a part of many scoring chains. The final debutant, Liam Martin only managed nine minutes in his first appearance but was still heavily amongst the action, hitting hard and proving he is a player for the future.
2. Tom Trbojevic is the Blues everywhere man
A fullback at club level Tom Trbojevic has been in sensational form for the Manly Sea Eagles since returning from a serious hamstring injury. With James Tedesco the incumbent fullback for the Blues Trbojevic was moved into the centres, but that didn’t stop him from floating around in the role he is more accustomed to. Trbojevic scored his second State of Origin hat-trick popping up on either side of the field as he lurked around the back of the advancing line. Trbojevic’s game was typified with a grubber kick setting up his opposing centre Latrell Mitchell.
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3. Blues have a deadly backfield
Everyone knew heading into the clash that the New South Wales backfield was star studded but some questioned whether or not they could cohesively gel together, but they managed to exceeded expectation. All of the Blues back five managed to carry for over 100 metres and three of those, Tedesco, To’o and Trbojevic carried for over 200 metres, while Mitchell managed 177 metres. The NRL’s leading try scorer Josh Addo-Carr was the quietest of the Blues back five which is a scary thought heading into game two. The addition of established Penrith Panthers halves combination Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary made the Blues back five look even scarier as the pair switched sides with ease and backed their teammates into to carry the ball late in sets.
4. Maroons exposed through injuries and suspension
Maroons coach Paul Green knew his team had had a less than desirable preparation for game one. Kalyn Ponga was quickly ruled out with a groin injury after being selected in the squad while experienced players such as Josh Papalii and Lindsay Collins were also unavailable for selection. To make matters worse in form prop Christian Welch managed only 13 minutes before failing a HIA. Queensland were then exposed through the middle of the field and struggled to defend the Blues outside backs as they protected the inside.
5. Harry Grant is the Maroons hooker for the future
There were very few positives for the Queenslanders to take out of the State of Origin opener, but Harry Grant looked electric out of dummy half, even after an injury interrupted preparation. The reigning Dally M Rookie of the Year had seven runs out dummy half for 52 metres and laid a game high 40 tackles. The Maroons looked at their best when Grant was moving the ball at pace.