New South Wales has taken the AMPOL State of Origin 2021 title with an emphatic 26-0 win over Queensland at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
It capped a series of blows the Maroons had to deal with. Two days before the game, the Maroons had to switch out 3 different players for the fullback position including injured Māori-Indigenous player & Warriors prodigy Reece Walsh. His hamstring injury effectively put a stop to his much-talked-about debut.
Cronulla Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo was then thrust into the starting position from the reserves for his debut. But NSWRL authorities ruled him ineligible to play first-grade, state rugby league as players need to have lived in either NSW or Queensland before their 13th birthday. Mulitalo lived in New Zealand until he was nearly 14.
The 21-year-old went on Instagram saying the decision left him "heartbroken”. (insert Instagram link)
It was then left to Broncos player Xavier Coates to jump back in on game day, despite his lack of preparation and being left off the original team list.
2-0, with a side of firsts and records.
In the end, the Blues showed up and turned up to the field last night, proving that their 50-6 first-game win wasn't a fluke.
Highlights of Origin dominance from NSW. Credit: YouTube/Asia Pacific Rugby League.
Its backline was dominant from the start. Josh Ado-Carr made two tries and assisted Tom Trbojevic for his ninth Origin try, while Latrell Mitchell intercepted Māori player Valentine Holmes' pass on the wing to make a near-90 metre runaway four-pointer.
‘Tommy Turbo' Trbojevic also kept Coates at bay with a try-saving swat at Coates's arm just as he was about to plant the ball in Queensland's left wing.
Māori player Dane Gagai chased a high kick from Cameron Munster and would have landed four points for the Maroons but his elbow touched the outline as he planted the ball.
Halfback Nathan Cleary continued his perfect kicking form for the Blues, converting four goals and knocking a penalty between the posts.
One more game in the series is planned within NSW territory, but Sydney's current lockdown may see officials considering another alternative.