Regional | Hākinakina

NSW snatch first State of O win for 2018

Charging at full speed ahead, New South Wales commanded the first game of the State of Origin series.

"Impressive, you know.  It was pleasing.  It went in swings and we had some time when we were rucking out of our own end and kicking long,” said New South Wales skipper, James Maloney.

With what could have been considered a somewhat controversial move, coaches debuted a number of new players for the game last night; a move that ultimately worked in New South's favour.  The newbies showing no signs of the effects of the team's past performances.

"For eight debutants having their first game in this arena, they all handled the occasion well,” Maloney commented.

The combination of full-back James Tedesco shadowing hooker Damien Cook for much of the game brought about big gains for the blues with Tedesco taking away "Man of the Match" honours.

"Outstanding.  He created that try for Joshy out wide.  He's so good at this arena, around tight middles.  He's just a legend," said the captain of his teammate. Ngāti Pikiao descendant, Dane Gagai was a standout for the Queensland side, scoring for the Maroons, but later copped a controversial 'drop-ball' call from the ref in the second half.

New South Wales leads the series 1-0, with the game two scheduled for June 24 at the ANZ Stadium, Sydney.