Game Two - Sydney
They got the job done in game one.
At Suncorp Stadium - the heartland of Queensland rugby league - the Blues ran over the top of the Maroons.
They inflicted an embarrassing 24-point win against the defending State of Origin champions, a side with players who have been a part of Queensland’s dominance over the past decade or so.
NSW has always been criticised for its loyalty in Origin.
However, the side has chosen its first unchanged 17 since the 1996 series, a series which it won 3-0 and which current coach Laurie Daley was a part of as a player.
Queensland’s loyalty has always been described as one the major reasons it has dominated the contests for so many years.
But after its first game one loss since 2014 Queensland’s loyalty card has been thrown aside, with seven new faces brought in to freshen up the side (not all of which were form-based replacements).
The biggest name among those seven is Johnathan Thurston.
Thurston is a match-winner.
2017 marks his last year of representative footy, and both he and his side will be determined to send him out a winner in the Origin arena.
His return will boost the side, with his partnership in the halves with Cooper Cronk one of the best Origin has ever witnessed.
Joining Thurston as fresh faces in the side for game two are Cowboys teammates Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess, the explosive Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater, Slater’s Storm teammate foward Tim Glasby, speedy Cronulla Sharks fullback Valentine Holmes, who will play on the wing, and Titans prop/lock Jarrod Wallace, who was 18th man in game one.
Outgoing Queenslanders are Corey Oates (who scored the side’s only try in game one), Justin O’Neill, Anthony Milford, Nate Myles, Sam Thaiday, Aiden Guerra and Jacob Lillyman.
NSW cannot sit back and relax despite a convincing game one win.
One only has to look back as far as 2013 to see why.
NSW won game one of that series, before being beaten in the next two matches to lose an eighth series in a row.
Since then NSW has won one of three of the series on offer, meaning it has lost 10 of the last 11 series.
A win tomorrow night would not only signal a series win for the Blues, but would once and for all slam the door shut on the darkest period in Origin football for the NSW side.
Just like NSW, the referees remain unchanged for tomorrow night’s match.
Matt Cecchin and Gerard Sutton have retained the whistles, and once again Brett Suttor and Chris Butler will be the touch judges, and Bernard Sutton is the senior review official in the bunker.
The match kicks off tomorrow night at 8.15pm at ANZ Stadium.
Blues v Maroons Game one - key moments
Pre-game: Queensland skipper Cameron Smith won the toss and chose to receive.
6th minute: James Maloney opens the 2017 State of Origin series scoring with a try, running onto an offload from Sharks and Blues teammate Andrew Fifita. Maloney kicked the conversion to make the score 6-0.
33rd minute: James Tedesco reaches out to score but a try-saving tackle by Darius Boyd sees Tedesco drop the ball.
35th minute: Corey Oates flies through the air and takes a great catch from a cross-field Cooper Cronk kick to go over and score. Smith missed the kick which kept the score at 6-4.
40th minute: Mitchell Pearce scores NSW’s second and Maloney converts to make the score 12-4 at half time.
52nd minute: Tedesco makes up for dropping the ball over the line by scoring from dummy half. Maloney v\converts to make the score 18-4.
55th minute: Fifita scores the easiest of tries, grounding after Maroon Justin O’Neill dropped the ball close to the tryline. Maloney converts again to make the score 24-4.
60th minute: Jarryd Hayne dummies and runs through a gap on the left edge to run over and score the Blues’ fifth and final try of the night, their third in eight minutes.
61st minute: NSW loses Pearce who was knocked out by an accidental shoulder from Will Chambers.
80th minute: the siren sounds - NSW wins the match.
State of Origin
State of Origin is really only about one thing - the rivalry between NSW and Queensland - but many from both states are putting that to a side (for a little while anyway) to get behind a bigger cause.
Because June, State of Origin month, is also when Coles supermarkets in both states get behind fundraising causes for children’s health.
In NSW it is the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation and the fundraising is by way of a raffle in Coles stores, as part of the Cheers for the Kids campaign.
The money will go towards the Kids Cancer Centre at the hospital.
And there’s something in it for the ticket buyer too.
The first prize is a Holden Colorado, with the raffle running until June 27.