TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 09: (L-R) Brian To'o of the Blues, Jerome Luai of the Blues and Nathan Cleary of the Blues pose after winning game one of the 2021 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on June 09, 2021 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

With Origin I in the books and the dust slowly settling in the far north of the Sunshine state, we have run our eyes back over the contest and are keen to keep chins wagging.

So, before we all shift our focus to game two, here are the 10 talking points from a one-sided game one.

Panthers piles on the points
In a game that saw a total of 56-points driven in and converted on the night, an astounding 28 of them came at the hands – or feet – of a table-topping Penrith Panther.


When one adds together Nathan Cleary‘s 16 points from the tee, Brian To’o’s brace and Kurt Capewell‘s 34th minute four-pointer, you will find that these men from the foot of the mountain combined for exactly 50% of the scoreboard’s worth.

It’s an impressive feat, but one that should surprise few given Penrith’s form this season.

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Cleary a class above 
Although the coach’s son won’t receive any Dally M points for his efforts last night, you can be sure that punters – if they haven’t already –  will be quickly parting with their cash on Cleary claiming the honour he missed out on last year.

As mentioned, the 23-year-old dynamo created 18-points for his side, and played a part in many of the Cockroaches offensive moves.

With telepathic connection with his halves partner in crime paired with his scything runs, Paul Green will have his work cut out for him to try and turn the tide for his side ahead of game two in Brisbane.

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Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. If Cleary doesn’t get you, Luai must 
Even if Green does manage to channel Tom Cruise and pull of 2021’s mission impossible, the Maroons‘ main man will still need to find a way to quell yet another Panther cub in Jarome Luai.

Although the 24-year-old in the six jersey couldn’t dot down on debut, his magic steps and deft touches played a mammoth role in his side crossing the line at will in the massacre.

With everything the local Penrith junior touches turning to gold at the minute, if the status quo remains, a ring and a series win could be his by the point it is time to hang a new calendar.

Maroons miss many 
Vanquished teams often look for excuses for their ineptitude, but when the scoreboard sees you sit 44-points in arrears, it is often nigh on impossible to create a plausible one. 

Still, I’ll try my best for the Queenslanders, and state that had Kalyn Ponga, Lindsay Collins, Josh Papalii and Reed Mahoney all been available for selection, Wednesday night’s result may have taken on a slightly less blue complexion.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 05: Kalyn Ponga of the Maroons passes during game one of the 2019 State of Origin series between the QueenslandMaroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 05, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Early Welch woes maroon Maroons 
These aforementioned loses were also compounded when Christian Welch slid on the ‘wobbly boot’ in the 13th minute and was forced from the contest.

With the vast majority of his preferred forward pack unavailable for a minimum of 47-minutes last night, Paul Green never stood a chance in his coaching debut.

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Bleeding Blues break records 
Despite a contest that saw a handful of New South Welshman bleeding blue from a series of knocks, it wasn’t enough to stop them running in eight tries to one and breaking a new record for the state’s largest win on foreign soil.

This latest Blues‘ massacre of the Maroons saw them sprint past their 2017 rout of the Queenslanders to the tune of 20-points.

With this in mind, it made sense for last night’s DJ to drop the needle on The Beatles’ 1965 hit ‘Help’ just prior to the New South Welshman’s seventh try.

Addo-Carr avoided, eyes turn to To’o
If you had told punters that the Blues would run in eight tries last night, yet ‘The Fox’ wouldn’t bag any, they would have laughed right in your face.

However, as the Penrith halves combination of Cleary and Luai predictably preferred to play the ball down the left flank, Josh Addo-Carr had a quiet night offensively.

Still, lucks a fortune for some, with the moves out wide benefiting the aforementioned pair’s clubland teammate, Brian To’o.

With 233 run metres, two line breaks and a pair of four-pointers, the quiet spoken, but lightening quick Panther had a night out on debut.

‘Tommy Turbo’ turns it on 
If you haven’t already jumped on Tom Trbojevic bandwagon, then last night provided you with yet another golden opportunity to do so.

With a hat-trick in the heart of Maroons country, ‘Turbo’ once again flexed his credentials as the most damaging player on the planet.

Last ditch tackles turn sunshine staters away
Despite running up a cricket score on the Queenslanders, Brad Fittler‘s Blues weren’t content to dominate solely on offense.

With the clock ticking towards midnight in the series opener, the Maroons threw one last tired punch at their southern neighbours, but as they had been all night, the New South Welshman were up for the fight.

As Peter Sterling said at the time, this string of last ditch tackles typified what Origin football is all about.

Kickers remain perfect – except for Munster
On a night where all three kickers remained perfect from the tee, Cameron Munster lowered his colours by also hitting the target.

Although he joined the ‘100% club’, the judiciary will have something to say about the Steeden’s lack of appearance in this effort.



Matt Clements: 5. Tom Trbojevic 4. Latrell Mitchell 3. James Tedesco 2. Brian To’o 1. Damien Cook
Will Evans: 5. Tom Trbojevic 4. Nathan Cleary 3. Latrell Mitchell 2. Brian To’o 1. Payne Haas
Dan Nichols: 5. Tom Trbojevic 4. Latrell Mitchell 3. Brian To’o 2. James Tedesco 1. Damien Cook
Jack Blyth: 5. Tom Trbojevic 4. Latrell Mitchell 3. Nathan Cleary 2. Daniel Saifiti 1. Damien Cook