The Tom Trbojevic factor proved greater than any home-ground advantage in Townsville as NSW annihilated Queensland 50-6 in their biggest-ever State of Origin winning margin.
Trbojevic scored his second Origin hat-trick and set up another as he popped up all over the field, helping NSW blow the Maroons off the park in the series opener.
Fellow centre Latrell Mitchell was also superb with his own double in his Origin return, while debutant winger Brian To’o also bagged two tries.
The Blues backs were too strong and too fast for Queensland, who weren’t able to take advantage of a one-sided home crowd of 27,533 in Townsville’s maiden Origin.
Key forward Christian Welch lasted just 13 minutes before being ruled out with a concussion, while Kyle Feldt endured a horror debut on his home turf as his side went down 20-0 na 29 minute.
Feldt ended up on report for a late and high shot along with Moeaki Fotuaika, while Cameron Munster was pulled up for striking Liam Martin with his feet. The Maroons’ last-tackle options were also poor, while they broke the NSW line just once.
In vergelyking, the Blues were brilliant. Almost untouchable for the past two months at Manly, Trbojevic virtually created his own position as a roaming player whenever the Blues went into attack mode.
His threat provided NSW’s first points through a penalty when he was taken out by Daly Cherry-Evans when chasing a Nathan Cleary kick.
The 24-year-old then scored the Blues’ first try back in his nominated position of left centre, getting outside Kurt Capewell and slicing through the Maroons’ line. He later popped up on the left after halftime to grubber for Mitchell’s first, before the pair combined again later in the second half.
After Jarome Luai burst through from his own half as part of a great debut, he found Mitchell inside him before Trbojevic finished the job under the posts. His hat-trick was then complete when he followed through on a Nathan Cleary break to bring up the half-century.
Mitchell was also a constant threat, slicing through the line early in the lead up to NSW’s first try and later scoring twice from kicks. He also made a crucial up-and-in tackle on Valentine Holmes to force an error just before half-time, as the Maroons eyed a comeback through a second straight try
Tariq Sims provided the play of the game for To’o’s first try with a two-man cut-out ball offload, as the Penrith winger also finished with 215 metres out of his own end. Luai and Cleary were also both great in the halves, each busting the game open at times as they brought their Penrith form into Origin.