Dominant Queensland five-eighth Tom Dearden has shared insights into the pivotal role played by the sidelined Cameron Munster in his stellar State of Origin comeback.

Had it not been for Munster's significant groin injury sustained during Magic Round, Dearden might have been a mere spectator in Wednesday night's Origin opener. The rest is history though, as the circumstances thrust him into the spotlight, leading Queensland to a commanding 38-10 victory over the Blues.

"To sit back and watch how [Munster] and [Daly Cherry-Evans] operate, you learn so much watching them," Dearden remarked, amplifying his admiration for the Maroon veterans' professionalism and skill.

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When Munster was ruled out, Dearden emerged as a steady choice, backed by a commendable performance in his last Origin appearance back in 2022.

Despite the burgeoning talent of Brisbane youngster Ezra Mam, who showcased his prowess during last year's grand final and has continued to impress this season, Dearden's experience and reliability made him the preferred candidate for the play-making responsibilities alongside Cherry-Evans.

With 131 running meters, one try assist, five tackle breaks and a line break, Dearden's performance paid dividends for selectors, in the face of the immense pressure of replacing a key player like Munster.

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"Every chance I get to wear the Maroons jersey, it's always a privilege," Dearden affirmed.

"It's something I'll never take for granted. You're playing for more than just yourself ... There's 5.5 million Queenslanders that are watching us," he added.

Game Two will be played at the MCG on June 26th and is an opportunity for Queensland to wrap up the series before the final 2024 chapter at Suncorp on July 17th.

Accor Stadium