Origin is back for 2023 and the stakes could not be higher. Brad Fittler v Billy Slater. Queensland v New South Wales. 

As always and as expected, the contest was tough, physical, gruelling; typical of two states with a storied rivalry of despising each other on this stage.

The opening points would come for the Maroons as Cam Munster put the ball on a platter for Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow with a perfectly weighted kick.

It would be Val Holmes converting and he made no mistake with his first attempt.

Soon after, the Maroons had a second as a shift right saw debutant Luke Walsh deliver a perfect cut-out pass for Selwyn Cobbo who streaked to the line to score.

Up 10-0 and seemingly in control, the game ebbed and flowed for a while with NSW’s attack proving largely one-dimensional and unable to penetrate for long periods.

They would get their first try, however, as Penrith teammates Jarome Luai and Liam Martin combining with the half finding the hard-running back-rower to bust through and score.

The game was evenly poised at the break with Queensland up 10-6 but it would be New South Wales who drew first blood in the second, rather fortuitously.

A loose ball from a Queensland carry that on another day, could have been deemed either a strip or a knock-on, saw Api Koroisau scoop the ball up to score and give New South Wales the lead after the conversion.

Not to be outshone, Cobbo would have a second as he and Walsh combined yet again, with the winger doing well to stay in the field of play as he slid towards the try-line.

New South Wales then took the lead again when Stephen Crichton was the recipient of a grubber from Panthers teammate Nathan Cleary.

Entering the final 15 minutes, the match was in the balance and fortune seemed to favour New South Wales saw Tom Flegler sin-binned for contact to the head on Tom Trbojevic.

Queensland went down to twelve men and Trbojevic would not return, his HIA deemed a category one.

Typical Queensland spirit and grit, however, and a reason why you can never discount them, was then seen by all.

Despite being down a man, the Maroons found themselves with an overlap on the left as Tabuai-Fidow outpaced Josh Addo-Carr and saw James Tedesco slip to score near the posts.

Just three minutes later, a high kick went up and an unlikely hero in a leaping Lindsay Collins outjumped Tedesco to grab the ball before finding Munster too cap off a dramatic win in Adelaide.

Making his Origin debut, Queensland fullback Reece Walsh held his own as he took in the spectacle that is Origin.

“It was everything and more,” said Walsh.

“As a kid you dream of putting on a Maroons jersey. There were nerves today but glad to get the win.”

New South Wales captain Tedesco thought his side had the game with ten to go and being a man up but knows his side let it slip badly.

“Once we got back into the game we felt good going into the last 10 minutes and then just let it slip,” said Tedesco.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 . Reuben Cotter (QLD)

2. Liam Martin (NSW)

1. Cameron Munster (QLD)

By ricky

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