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A record-equaling effort from Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow helped the Maroons draw first blood in the 2024 Origin series, as they overwhelmed a 12-man Blues side 38-10 to claim Game One in Sydney. 

The contest was turned on its head just eight minutes in when New South Wales debutant Joseph-Aukuso Sua'ali'i became the fastest player in Origin history to be sent off, after he made contact with the head of Reece Walsh with a hit which later saw the Maroons fullback ruled out due to his head knock being deemed as a category one head injury assessment. 

Sua'ali'i was subsequently charged with a Grade 2 Reckless High Tackle offence, and faces 4-5 weeks on the sidelines as a result.

Already down 6-0 at that point, it created a hill far too big for the home side to climb, with Queensland targeting the right centre spot Sua'ali'i would have occupied with success. 

By full-time Tabuai-Fidow had equaled the mark for most tries in a single Origin game, with a four-pointer in the shadows of full-time coming after a brace in the space of six minutes in the first half. 

Sua'ali'i sent off

The quick-fire double from 'Hammer', coupled with Ben Hunt's opening try and a penalty goal from Valentine Holmes, gave the Maroons a healthy 20-6 advantage at the half, but it was proving to be far from a walk in the park. 

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2nd Try

On the back of recalled fullback James Tedesco's effort on 14 minutes, Zac Lomax marked his state debut by climbing high to claim a bomb and score just four minutes into the second stanza, which reduced the deficit to 10. 

As the arm wrestle intensified a few blades of grass dictated which way momentum headed, with Xavier Coates preventing a 40/20 kick with a tip-toe effort minutes before eventual player of the match Daly Cherry-Evans got one just right at the other end. 

The Maroons had two try claims ruled out by the Bunker before Hunt eventually struck a telling blow with his second on 67 minutes, which came after an initial break from Selwyn Cobbo. 

Ben Hunt 2nd Try

Storm flyer Coates crossed before Tabuai-Fidow's third try and a sixth conversion added by Holmes ended the scoring at 38-10. 

Match Snapshot

  • Historically after claiming Game One in Sydney the Maroons have gone on to win seven series (1988, 1995, 1998, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2022) and lose only one (1994).
  • Since Origin became a three-game series in 1982, the state that has lost the first game has come back to win the series just 10 times (out of 41).
  • The 38-10 win was Queensland's biggest victory ever in Sydney. 
  • Joseph-Aukuso Sua'ali'i was sent off in the eighth minute for making direct contact with the head of Reece Walsh, resulting in the Maroons fullback being ruled out for the remainder of the game.  

Reece Walsh ruled out

  • Queensland replacement player Felise Kaufusi was activated following Walsh being ruled out and ended up playing 23 minutes. 
  • Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow had a big night as the stand-in fullback, scoring a hat-trick, carrying for over 150 metres and saving a try at a crucial time in the first half with a last-ditch intervention as Spencer Leniu went over the line. 
  • Both sides had 42 uses of the ball, with the Blues completing the better of the two, finishing 85 percent of their sets compared to Queensland who finished 69 percent of theirs. 
  • Daly Cherry-Evans was judged player of the match, with the Queensland captain laying on two try assists and kicking for 442 metres, which included a crucial 40/20 in the second half. 

Play of the Game

At 35 years of age and in his 23rd appearance for Queensland, Daly Cherry-Evans showed all of the zip of a teenager on debut to set up his long-time teammate Ben Hunt for the opener. A 15-metre dart out of dummy-half followed by a lobbed pass back infield kicked off a big night for the Maroons on enemy soil. 

Ben Hunt 1st Try

What They Said

"Playing at this level, playing with 12... we put ourselves in positions at times where we were quite dominant, but I guess fatigue comes in at some stage. When you're playing with a man down you have got to really try and bury the opposition into the corners and fatigue finds you at some stage. But I am actually really super proud of their efforts... one thing I do know about this group is they have really shifted the dime on where they see and how hard they want to work for the jersey." – New South Wales coach Michael Maguire. 

Blues: Game 1

"(On losing Reece Walsh after eight minutes) The team has adapted to adversity the last three years... that was no different tonight, I thought 'Hammer' [Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow] was great slipping back into that fullback position and everyone else, Felise Kaufusi came on the field and did a great job, Selwyn [Cobbo]. We have got so much room [for improvement], we have got so much to go with our footy, I thought we were so far off with our footy tonight, but that's all to come." – Queensland coach Billy Slater.  

Maroons: Game 1

What's Next

The series now heads to Melbourne Cricket Ground for the second game on June 26, with the Maroons needing to claim their first win at the MCG since 1995 if they are to wrap the series up with a game to spare. In the five Origin games played at the venue so far the Blues have won four of them. 

Acknowledgement of Country

The Dolphins respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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