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NRL: 5 things we learnt from State of Origin game one

Queensland pulled off one of the biggest wins in State of Origin history as they showed tremendous spirit to beat New South Wales 26-18 in Adelaide.

Queensland pulled off one of the biggest wins in State of Origin history as they showed tremendous spirit to beat New South Wales 26-18 in Adelaide. 

It will be a game that lives long in the memory for all lovers of rugby league, in particular those from Queensland, as their side defied the odds to get the job done. 

New South Wales will wish they could erase it from the memory, but maybe the manner in which they lost the game will motivate them even more to bounce back in game two. 

The Blues looked set to go on and win as they were leading by two points going into the last 10 minutes, with Queensland also down to 12 men. 

However, it was the Maroons that ran in two tries to seal the win. Now they can wrap up the series on home turf at Suncorp Stadium in game two. They are priced at 1.72 to do just that.  

But what five things did we learn from the game?

The Queensland spirit shone through 

The whole ‘Queensland spirit’ narrative is something that grates on New South Wales, but on the evidence of game one, the Maroons clearly have something the Blues don’t. 

The Maroons won the 2022 series against the odds and are now in pole position to wrap it up again in 2023. 
This was a game they should not have won. 

They lost key players to injury and lost another to the sin bin with 10 minutes remaining. New South Wales were leading by two points and should have seen the job through. 

But Queensland are never done, and despite being a man down they scored two late tries. Cameron Smith said the performance showed commitment to the jersey, the people of Queensland and each other, and he hit the nail on the head.

Defence wins Origin games 

Queensland’s win was built on defence as they soaked up everything that New South Wales could muster. 

The Blues had plenty of good field position but could not make it count, and that was because of some resilient defending from the Maroons. It took some brilliant scramble defence from Brisbane in the first half in particular. 

New South Wales had 56 percent of possession but trailed 10-6. In the NRL such dominance would give you a healthy lead but Origin is another step up and the Queensland defence was outstanding.

Reece Walsh stood up to the challenge 

NSW admitted they would target the young fullback but he showed he was more than up to the task with an outstanding performance on debut. 

The fullback was put under plenty of pressure from some Nathan Cleary bombs but he was equal to them and did not put a foot wrong. 

The Broncos ace was strong in defence, while he tried to get on the front foot as much as possible and set up Selwyn Cobbo for one try. Walsh proved he is made for Origin footy.

Cotter named man of the match 

There were many champions in Maroons jerseys, but it was Reuben Cotter that stood out from the rest to be named man of the match. 

Cotter played the entire game and came up with a staggering 48 tackles. Not only that he played a huge role in Cobbo’s try in the second half. 

All this after he had to play out of position, switching to second row after Tom Gilbert went off with a dislocated shoulder. Cotter is a true Origin player and put his body on the line to help his side to victory.

New South Wales were poor 

It will be back to the drawing board for the Blues as they head to Queensland for game two knowing they simply have to win. 

The Blues had plenty of good field position but surprisingly lacked confidence with their ball movement and were a bit clunky to say the least. 

The one positive was the combinations involving the Penrith players, which lead to two tries, but they will need more than just that if they are to get a result in game two. They are priced at 2.15 to win game two and level the series. 

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