Nasty Eye Gouge Sours First Half Of State Of Origin In Brisbane

"Origin history, in particular Queensland's history, has been built on the back of people saying (they can't win)".

The tables turned on Queensland yesterday when New South Wales took the field at Suncorp Stadium, in front of over 50,000 onlookers in State of Origin's Game 1.

Queensland have lost games over the past decade but never have they had as steep a hill to climb to bounce back in game two.

"I have spent the last 39 games helping players and putting the team in a good position".

The new-look Blues lived up to their tag as pre-game favourites and overwhelmed an understrength Maroons side at Suncorp Stadium to go one up in the three-game series.

Some changes this series (on top of debuts for Dylan Napa and Anthony Milford) may have been prudent forward planning, given the Maroons will lose Johnathan Thurston and potentially Cooper Cronk for next season, with Sam Thaiday also nearing his end.

It was Fifita who looked most likely for NSW as he bashed his way through the middle of the park, daring the Queensland players to try and slow him down.

"We've just got to know our roles and just back ourselves and play the footy we've been training for".

The last time Fifita turned in a match-winning display in a big game, he was overlooked for the Clive Churchill Medal in the Sharks' grand final - despite scoring the match-winning try.

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While the Gold Coast Titans star has flown under the radar externally during the Blues' week-long Origin camp at Kingscliff, the opposite could be said for his impact internally. "I was more the kid that crossed every toe and finger and hair follicle they had and hoped it was possible, not knew it was", Cronk said.

Ahead of Wednesday night, Hayne has proven to be an Origin specialist, busting 121 tackles over 20 Origin appearances.

That three-try, eight-minute period ended the game, but it was only then that possibly the most impressive period of play began for the Blues.

"We'll make some smart decisions, informed decisions around game two", Walters said.

"With all due respect, I think if Jonathan was out there tonight, the score line might have been a little bit closer".

"They [Thurston and Slater] are two of the all-time greats", he said. They tried to dominate the ruck - we didn't have much room to move a year ago.

"He just has to do what he's been doing at club level, playing good solid footy, running hard and hitting blokes and I'm sure if he does that he'll play a good game".

There was no famous Origin biff, no mistakes and only one penalty apiece in the first half.

"But I can guarantee you this group won't doubt them and I won't doubt them". "But in Origin, it shouldn't be about surprises, you expect the opposition to front up and be ready to go and that's what we've got to do".

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