New South Wales debutant winger Anthony Quinn scored the two opening tries in 13 minutes to lay the platform for his side’s 18-10 victory in the first match of the annual state-of-origin three game series against Queensland.
|Peter Wallace was outstanding on debut |
Queensland started the series as hot favourite to collect a third consecutive title, and with big question marks over rookie New South Wales halfback Peter Wallace.
But Wallace silenced any doubters with string of impressive early touches before continuing a commanding performance.
Melbourne Storm Quinn scored in the 4th minute after a well worked move, with team-mate Ryan Hoffman hitting a hole and unloading a one-handed pass behind a defender to give New South Wales a two-man overlap.
Craig Fitzgibbon converted from the sideline to make it 6-0 and Quinn extended the lead to 10 when he leaped high above opposite winger Brent Tate to take a Wallace crossfield kick and touch down in the 18th minute.
It was 14-0 in the 35th when unmarked fullback Brett Stewart took an inside ball from center Mark Gasnier after the Australia center hit a gap and drew in two cover defenders inside the attacking quarter.
Tate breathed life into Queensland right on half time, after following through on Johnathan Thurston's grubber kick and just getting downward pressure inside the right corner post to close the gap to 14-4 at the break.
The Maroons went within inches of scoring twice before Gasnier again beat two defenders and put replacement backrower Anthony Laffranchi in to score with 12 minutes remaining to end the match as a contest.
Israel Folau scored a consolation try and Thurston converted in the last two minutes to reduce the final margin to eight points.
The Queenslanders struggled for direction with regular fullback Karmichael Hunt playing his first senior match at five-eighth in the place of injured Darren Lockyer and not coming up with enough in attack.
Blues coach Craig Bellamy's gameplan was instrumental in the result, devising ways of shutting down the threats of Queensland hooker Cameron Smith, center Greg Inglis and fullback Billy Slater, three of his key players at club level with NRL premiers Melbourne Storm.
The next game in the series will be in Brisbane on June 11.
New South Wales 18 (Anthony Quinn 2, Brett Stewart, Anthony Laffranchi tries; Craig Fitzgibbon conversion), Queensland 10 (Brent Tate, Israel Folau tries; Johnathan Thurston conversion).