The Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues have revived the 2019 State of Origin series in empathic style with a relentless 38-6 victory over the Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
It was a hat-trick to Tom Trbojevic which proved the catalyst of the clinical attacking performance – two of which coming off the back of blistering James Tedesco efforts on either side of half-time.
Not since Matt King in 2005 has a NSW player crossed for three tries in an Origin fixture as the Blues sent an ominous warning for Game III in front of an electric crowd of 59, 721 people.
Despite their incredible display, they were dealt a crucial blow when Nathan Cleary was ruled out at half-time after sustaining an ankle injury which forced Wade Graham into the halves alongside James Maloney.
Maloney’s inclusion proved telling from the first minute until the last – the no.6 having a hand in NSW’s first two tries before nailing a 40/20 on the ensuing set of Frizell’s rampaging four-pointer.
It was his towering bomb which saw Trbojevic leap over Kalyn Ponga for the opening try in the 7thminute before laying on a deft pass for Frizell to crash over with a quarter of the game gone.
It was also a welcome return for Graham after an incredible journey from an ACL injury – the back-rower having a hand in both of Josh Addo-Carr's tries in the second half.
Dale Finucane and Daniel Saifiti cemented their worth in the Origin arena with powerful first stints, while Cleary aimed up defensively with two tackles forcing errors which both lead to NSW tries.
A late reshuffle saw Finucane start at lock and Jake Trbojevic shifted to the front-row – the barnstorming forward leaving no stone unturned with 162m and 30 tackles in a near 80-minute performance.
In other eye-catching numbers, Tedesco (209m) and Blake Ferguson (215m) topped the metre count while Damien Cook recorded 38 tackles.
While the dynamic attacking efforts were the highlight of the win, it was also a defiant defensive performance that proved decisive at crucial stages of the contest.
The Maroons only points came off a penalty try when Will Chambers was impeded in his chase of a Daly Cherry Evans grubber in the 15th minute.
It was a brutally-absorbing affair which paved the way for a crushing NSW performance although some early chances in the opening 40 minutes went astray.
Addo-Carr thought he had extended NSW’s lead shortly before half-time when he strolled over in the left-hand corner with just under 10 minutes remaining but Maloney’s lofty right-to-left pass was ruled forward.
It would prove costly for only a short period, however, as Tedesco set the game alight with a dynamic run out of dummy-half before offloading to Trbojevic to give NSW an 18-6 lead at the break.
Back-to-back penalty goals gave NSW a comfortable 16-point buffer in the 46th minute following an array of Queensland penalties before the floodgates opened with two tries in quick succession.
Trbojevic got his third after Addo-Carr found open space down the left-hand touchline before finding Tedesco who threw a freakish flick pass to the flyer.
Addo-Carr crossed for a well-deserved try just four minutes later when he pounced on a Graham grubber to set an unassailable 32-6 lead with just over 20 minutes remaining.
He got his his second in the dying stages after a slick short-side raid – Damien Cook running out of dummy-half before Graham and Jack Wighton linked on the left-hand side.
The performance acts as the perfect platform to build into Game III with the series-defining match to be played on Wednesday, 10 July at ANZ Stadium.