Frizell Makes Immediate Origin Impact
It's rare for a debutant to embody what Origin effort is all about but Blues coach Laurie Daley says Tyson Frizell's brave but ultimately futile chase of Dane Gagai will be used as an example to current and future New South Wales representatives.
While Queensland have quietly ushered in the next generation of the Maroons over the past two Series the Blues can take heart from the fact that many of their best performers in Wednesday night's 26-16 loss are in their maiden Origin series.
From the moment he steamrolled over the top of Queensland captain Cameron Smith with his first touch of the football Frizell looked every inch an Origin player, stinging in defence and making inroads into the Maroons in attack.
Dylan Walker held his own under enormous pressure from Greg Inglis, Matt Moylan was better than he was in Game One, Josh Mansour looks set for a long Origin career and Jack Bird lived up to the expectations of many that he is perfectly suited to rugby league's toughest arena.
But it was Frizell who came up with the moment that Daley says will be replayed over and over again as a shining example of what the Blues are trying to create.
It wasn't one of his bullocking runs or the crucial try he scored to get NSW back into the contest 16 minutes into the second half but his chase of Queensland winger Gagai late in the first half that most impressed the coach.
Regarded by St George Illawarra teammate Benji Marshall as the quickest forward over 40 metres in the NRL, Frizell took ground off Gagai and brought him to ground with an ankle tap but his momentum just carried him across the line for the first try of the game.
"For us, that will keep getting shown in years to come. That's the effort that is expected of us when we pull on that blue shirt," Daley said of Frizell's chase.
"It was an Origin moment for us that we'll continue to show our pathway players and we'll continue to show the senior boys as well.
"I thought he was great. The idea behind starting Tyson was twofold. Young guy, plenty of energy, I didn't want him sitting on the bench thinking too much about it and the other one was that I needed someone with a bit of experience (Greg Bird) to start the second half."
Jack Bird had to wait until the 54th minute of the game before he got his first real taste of Origin football and said it lived up to everything he had expected having watched it on television for the majority of his 21 years.
"I watched it at home and I could see how crazy the crowds are and when I ran out there I got goosebumps," Bird said.
"I went out there to do my family proud, obviously myself proud and hopefully I did that.
"It was nothing that I didn't expect, I knew it was going to be a crazy game, a fast game, a lot different to NRL standard, but I really enjoyed every minute.
"I'm not used to it (sitting on the bench) but I thought I was pretty good.
"I tried staying calm and I was a bit nervous but I thought I did well and did what I could do."
This article first appeared on NRL.com