A young superstar forced from the field with blood gushing from his face, Gus Gould quoting Game of Thrones and ill-fitting jerseys – State of Origin’s series opener in Townsville had it all.
New South Wales put on a masterclass to annihilate the Maroons 50-6 in a one-sided affair that dampened the efforts of 30,000 screaming Queenslanders.
Wednesday night’s 44-point difference was the biggest win NSW has ever held over Queensland.
With thousands of Australians also tuning in from home, many were quick to notice the Blues appeared to be playing in shirts that were all a size too small.
The Blues defeated the Maroons in a humiliating 50-6 win in Townsville on Wednesday night. Many fans pointed out the Blues’ jerseys appeared to be a size too small (Daniel Saifiti, centre, celebrates crashing through tired defenders for a late try)
Latrell Mitchell, who toyed with the Maroons all night and bagged two tries, appeared to be wearing a jersey that looked small for his muscular frame
As Latrell Mitchell surged across the try-line near the start of the second half and the score ballooned to 22-6, viewers took to social media to ask who was in charge of the Blues’ laundry.
‘Did someone put the Blues’ shirts on the hot wash? What’s going on with the bare midriffs?’ one Origin fan tweeted.
‘Is it just me or do all the blues have a shirt that’s a size or two too small?’ another said.
‘Who made the blues shirts. Lots of belly button action. What s**t sizing,’ a baffled fan wrote.
Nathan Cleary’s jersey was quickly drenched in blood when he suffered a major head knock early on in the first half.
The talented Blues halfback, 23, suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone after clashing with the elbow of teammate Tom Trbojevic as he crossed over for a try.
It wasn’t until the 37th minute that the referees finally sent Cleary to the blood-bin as a steady stream continued to pour out of the deep laceration.
Nathan Cleary showed courage to remain on field with a suspected fractured cheekbone as blood poured from his face. Heartless social media users trolled him for having acne
Queensland were thoroughly outclassed on Wednesday night. Kyle Feldt (centre) had a night to forget after conceding a foolish penalty early in the game that led to the Blues’ first try
The star halfback also found himself the victim of cruel trolling for his acne with some heartless social media users suggesting he see a ‘dermatologist’.
‘I hate to be the one to suggest it, but Nathan Cleary would be a great adversary for #Clearasil’, one tweeted.
‘I suffered with acne for years and was so glad to get through it. Poor sod in the bad light.’
Cleary was brilliant in leading the Blues to an emphatic 50-6 victory after copping criticism he underperformed in big games.
The 23-year-old slotted a perfect 7/7 conversions and set up three tries, while his kicking game was faultless and kept the Maroons on the back foot.
Blues star Nathan Cleary celebrates the team’s record-breaking win with family, after kicking an impressive 7/7 conversions and setting up three tries
Electric: Man of the match Tom Trbojevic scored his second Origin hattrick, with coach Brad Fittler giving him the all-clear to play ad-lib footy as an unconventional centre
Man of the match Tom Trbojevic scored his second Origin hat-trick in a classy performance, enjoying freedom from coach Brad Fittler to play ad-lib footy.
Fellow centre Latrell Mitchell was also superb with his own double in his Origin return, while debutant winger Brian To’o also bagged two tries.
Key Queensland forward Christian Welch lasted just 13 minutes before being ruled out with a concussion, while Kyle Feldt endured a horror debut on his home turf as his side went down 20-0 after 29 minutes.
Feldt ended up on report for a late and high shot along with Moeaki Fotuaika, while Cameron Munster was pulled up for striking Liam Martin with his feet.
The Maroons’ last-tackle options were poor, while they broke the NSW line just once.
The embarrassing performance was even mocked by the Queensland Police force who posted an alert to social media for anyone who might have any information on the whereabouts of the Maroons’ winning edge
‘Queensland police are investigating the disappearance of the Maroons winning edge, missing since 8.10pm in Townsville,’ the post said.
‘Concerns are held for the Maroons, as this behaviour is out of character.
‘Investigations indicate it was last seen in company with Kurt Capewell.’
The Queensland Police took a brutal dig at the Maroons embarrassing 50-6 loss
The Maroons’ last-tackle options were poor, while they broke the NSW line just once
Channel Nine commentator Phil Gould bizarrely quoted Game of Thrones during his iconic pre-game speech
Before the match even got underway, Nine commentator and former player Gould delivered a bizarre pre-game speech.
While praising the players for their ‘bravery’, the former NSW coach said their courage in the face of fear could be related to a passage he once read in the Game Of Thrones novels – which were turned into the hit HBO television series.
‘There was a passage I read in the Game of ‘Thrones’ many years ago of a conversation between the father and his son,’ he said.
‘The son asked is it possible for a man to still be considered brave when on the inside he is truly afraid? To which his father replied – when you’re truly afraid, that is the only time a man can be brave and that’s what you will see tonight.
‘Nerves, insecurity, fear, it will give way to courage and bravery. It will give way to the commitment you have to your teammates and your state. It will give way to the commitment you have to do whatever is necessary to win.
‘Why? Because that’s what Origin players do. And above all else these boys want to be Origin players.’
Lisa and Jessica Origliasso of The Veronicas were the pre-game entertainment
Bemused Origin fans flocked to Twitter to comment on Gould’s unusual monologue.
‘Anyone else catch Phil Gould quote Game of Thrones like it was the bible?’ one person tweeted.
‘Is Phil Gould ok?’ another wrote.
‘Speech has me well jacked,’ a third wrote.
The Origin match was originally supposed to be in Melbourne, but the city’s explosion of Covid-19 cases last month caused organisers to move the contest at the last minute.
Canberra, Newcastle and Bankwest Stadium in Sydney were all under consideration as potential alternatives.
But Townsville were controversially granted hosting duties after the Annastacia Palaszczuk government shelled out $8million to the NRL.
Hours before kick-off, health authorities confirmed a woman who left locked-down Melbourne and went on a road trip had tested positive for Covid in Queensland.
The 44-year-old woman from Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast was tested on Tuesday and returned a positive result on Wednesday.
Despite initial fears it could spark a drastic reaction from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the rugby league fixture went ahead as scheduled with no restrictions on crowd numbers.
Tom Trbojevic of the Blues celebrates with teammates after scoring the first try of the match
The Maroons were no match for New South Wales on Wednesday night suffering a 50-6 loss
Joe Ofahengaue of the Maroons pushes Jerome Luai of the Blues during game one