Welcome to our live coverage and updates for State of Origin Game 1.
The series opener kicked off from 8.10pm (AEST) from Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville.
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NSW put Queensland to the sword in a first half demolition job.
The Blues were ahead 20-0 after 28 minutes with Manly star Tom Trbojevic the chief destroyer.
Trbojevic was everywhere in the first half and he was the first try scorer of the game.
It was only a late try to Kurt Capewell that kept Queensland in the game, with the Blues taking a 20-6 lead heading into the second half.
Capewell’s try was also Trbojevic’s only blemish after he let Capewell slip through his fingers near the try line.
It was a cardinal sin from Maroons debutant Kyle Feldt that allowed NSW to score the first try of th game when Tom Trbojevic darted on the outside of Capewell and sliced his way over the line.
It came after Feldt had taken out Josh Addo-Carr in a clumsy block that brought the speedster to the ground as he chased down a kick.
The Blues had another one five minutes later when Brian To’o dived over in the corner. His try came on the back of a line break from Damien Cook. The Rabbitohs No. 9 cut Queensland apart when he darted out of dummy-half and found James Tedesco.
The Blues were all over the Maroons at the time.
They landed another crushing blow through To’o out wide.
The Panthers star was unmarked on the wing and it was a brilliant pass from Tariq Sims that got the ball to him. Sims stood strong in a tackle and through a perfect long ball to To’o when Dane Gagai was unable to bring him down.
Veronicas divide rocking Origin
The event had an explosive start when Aussie music act The Veronicas rocked the stage as the pre-match entertainment.
The three-song performance was pulsing with energy, but many rugby league commentators said the pop group just wasn’t right for the State of Origin demographic.
It simply wasn’t the fire-up song traditional rugby league supporters were looking for before the most vicious game of the year.
Plenty of fans couldn’t help but poke jokes at The Veronicas being very far away from home.
There were just as many commentators who were blown away by the performance and complimented the performers and the NRL for nailing the pre-match entertainment.
Queensland confirm Ben Hunt has been left out
Queensland announced big news just an hour before kick-off when they announced Dragons star Ben Hunt has been left out of their 17 — losing the utility spot on the bench to Titans fullback AJ Brimson.
Hunt had made a desperate dash to Townsville to join the Queensland team in camp following the decision to allow Parramatta’s Reed Mahoney to return to his club.
Hunt, however, was not selected when the Maroons announced their team.
You can see the full, official team lists below.
Blues pull off shock team selection espionage
A shock NSW team selection switch was revealed just hours before the game in a move that was reportedly kept secret by NSW all week.
It was reported Wednesday night Blues coach Brad Fittler had concealed his decision to switch Josh Addo-Carr to the ring wing to partner Manly star Tom Trbojevic.
Addo-Carr is doing a straight swap with Panthers flyer Brian To’o, who will move to the left wing — Addo-Carr’s preferred side — to partner Latrell Mitchell.
The move leaves To’o exposed to Queensland winger Xavier Coates. The Brisbane star has a 15cm height advantage and is a known aerial specialist.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Fittler hid the switch all week, even placing Addo-Carr and Mitchell as roommates during this Origin camp. He also partnered To’o with Trbojevic, to throw scouts and reporters off the scent.
Origin legend says NSW star is ineligible
There was upheaval just hours out from the match with Origin icon Mal Meninga sensationally suggesting Blues playmaker Jarome Luai should not be eligible to play.
The Maroons legend said Luai should not meet the State of Origin selection criteria because of his public declarations that he will snub the chance to play international football for Australia and will instead play with Samoa.
Meninga says only Australian players should be eligible to play in State of Origin –
“My preference is that if you make yourself available for NSW and Queensland that first and foremost you are available for the Kangaroos,” Meninga told The Daily Telegraph.
“You might describe that as selfish but I want to keep the fabric of Origin clean.
“I’m a huge fan of the international game and I don’t begrudge players wanting to play for their ancestors and their country.”
Teams for State of Origin Game 1
1. James Tedesco 2. Brian To’o 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Tom Trbojevic 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Damien Cook 10. Jake Trbojevic 11. Cameron Murray 12. Tariq Sims 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Jack Wighton 15. Junior Paulo 16. Payne Haas 17. Liam Martin 18. Api Koroisau 19. Campbell Graham
Coach: Brad Fittler
1. Valentine Holmes 2. Xavier Coates 3. Kurt Capewell 4. Dane Gagai 5. Kyle Feldt 6. Cameron Munster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Christian Welch 9. Harry Grant 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. David Fifita 13. Jai Arrow 14. AJ Brimson 15. Jaydn Su’A 16. Moeaki Fotuaika 17. Joe Ofahengaue 18. Coen Hess 19. Ben Hunt
Coach: Paul Green