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2021 State of Origin, QLD 6 NSW 50 – Report

Matt Pritchard reviews Townsville’s first Origin game where New South Wales thrashed Queensland 50-6.

SCOREBOARD

Maroons 6

Tries: Kurt Capewell (34)

Goals: Valentine Holmes (35)

Blues 50

Tries: Tom Trbojevic (17, 58, 68), Brian To’o (21, 26), Latrell Mitchell (48, 60), Daniel Saifiti (63)

Goals: Nathan Cleary (9 – pen, 18, 28, 50, 59, 61, 65, 69), Latrell Mitchell (23)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Latrell Mitchell (NSW)
2 pts – Nathan Cleary (NSW)
1 pt – Tom Trbojevic (NSW)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

Townsville hosted their first State of Origin game on a mild winter’s evening in front of a capacity crowd.

The game was played at a frenetic pace in the opening 10 minutes with no suggestion that the game would be subject to the NRL high contact crackdown which has caused plenty of talk over the last month.

New South Wales opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Nathan Cleary’s penalty goal after Daly Cherry-Evans prevented fellow Sea Eagle Tom Trbojevic a clear line to a cross-field kick.

Latrell Mitchell found some space down the right hand touchline after 15 minutes. At the end of the set James Tedesco’s kick in-goal went long, however Josh Addo-Carr was taken out in the chase, giving New South Wales a penalty and a huge chance to score. They instantly took advantage when Cleary found Tom Trbojevic who crashed over for the opening try. Cleary converted the try to give the Blues an eight-point advantage.

In the middle of the first half Damien Cook broke Queensland’s defensive line on a run downfield and linked up with Tedesco on the outside. From the next play the Blues went down the left with Brian To’o crossing for a try on debut. Latrell Mitchell converted the try with Cleary being attended to for a gash on his cheek. New South Wales continued their domination with To’o scoring his second with a lovely offload from Tariq Sims close to the line. Cleary’s conversion extended the visitors’ lead to 20 after 28 minutes.

Six minutes before half-time Queensland got on the board after finding an overlap to the left with a long ball from Cameron Munster sending Kurt Capewell over. Valentine Holmes converted to reduce the Blues’ lead to 14.

New South Wales kicked out on the full from the restart, inviting Queensland back into the contest. It came to no avail with Valentine Holmes spilling the ball before being tackled by Mitchell.

Push and shove on the half-time break ended proceedings with New South Wales well ahead.

HALF-TIME: Queensland 6 New South Wales 20

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2nd Half

Queensland needed to start strong to claw their way back into the contest after trailing by 14 at half-time. A curious kick by Harry Grant put their first chance of the half to bed.

New South Wales extended their lead in the second half through Tom Trbojevic’s kick in-goal bouncing Mitchell’s way after 48 minutes. Kyle Feldt was placed on report for a late hit on Angus Crichton in the lead-up, with Cleary adding the two points.

The first high tackle penalty came in the 56th minute when Josh Addo-Carr took AJ Brimson high.

New South Wales were in again after 58 minutes through Tom Trbojevic after a break down the left-hand side by Jarome Luai saw the pass go back inside to Mitchell for the Manly fullback to score. Cleary converted from in front.

It appeared the Blues were in again straight away after Xavier Coates lost the ball which allowed Mitchell to take the ball and score. Payne Haas was inside the 10 from the kick but did not have any impact on Coates dropping the ball, meaning the on-field decision of no try being overturned. Cleary converted and New South Wales led 38-6 with 19 to play.

New South Wales didn’t take the pressure off Queensland as they looked to establish some deep psychological wounds ahead of the second game at Suncorp Stadium on June 27.

Daniel Saifiti crashed over under the posts from short range after 64 minutes and Cleary’s conversion made it 44-6.

The highlight of the night came in the 69th minute with Tom Trbojevic’s hat-trick. Cleary – out of dummy half from inside his own half – made a clean break before finding Tedesco with Trbojevic finishing off the move.

Dane Gagai came close to scoring a consolation try with four minutes remaining only to lose the ball after scrambling New South Wales defence diffused the situation.

In a bad night for the Maroons Cameron Munster was placed on report for an incident involving Liam Martin after he kicked downfield. Queensland have a lot of soul searching ahead of the second game in Brisbane.

FULL-TIME: Queensland 6 New South Wales 50

Injuries

Christian Welch (QLD) – failed HIA

Match Review Committee

Moeaki Fotuaika (QLD) – Grade 1 Dangerous Contact Other – Early Guilty Plea 1 match ban, Guilty at Judiciary 1 match ban.
Kyle Feldt (QLD) – Grade 1 Dangerous Contact Neck/Head – Early Guilty Plea $1,600 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $2,100 fine.
Cameron Munster (QLD) – Grade 1 Contrary Conduct – Early Guilty Plea $1,150 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1,500 fine.

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