Despite having all of the money in the world, as well as every cog and wheel in the entire Australian professional rugby league infrastructure geared towards seeing them succeed, New South Wales could simply not get it done last night.

What was supposed to be a new era for the the Blues, proved to be anyhting but that, after NSW lost 38-10 to Queensland in State of Origin Game I after playing more than 70 minutes down to 12 men.

Joseph Sua’ali’i was sent off by referee Ashley Klein following a disgustingly late hit on Queensland fullback Reece Walsh early in the first half. While his actions would have seen him handcuffed and put in a paddywagon in any civilised society – in the Origin arena, Sua’ali’i simply had to cop a red card.

It seems things could not get worse for NSW, with their Origin players now so estranged from a winning culture that they crumble within the first ten minutes of making a debut.

With a new coach, and a new game plan, and the first team in 20 years that was actually picked on form – NSW Rugby League simply cannot get it togehter.

Even with billions of dollars in the pokie machine blood money that filters through their 14 NRL leagues clubs and subsidiaries.

Even with a vast and very closely examined grassroots program to choose from. They just can’t get it done.

There are now more than 100,000 participants across the state and almost 42,000 in the Sydney metropolitan and NSWRL affiliated leagues alone.

However, all of these infrastructural benefits and a blatantly NSW-centric national governing body is simply no match for two old men from Central Queensland.

Maroons captain, Daly Cherry-Evans (Mackay, 35) and fellow Origin veteran Ben Hunt (Dingo, 34) made the difference last night, even without the talismanic figures of Cameron Munster and Reece Walsh.

Ben Hunt started and finished the party with a pair of tries, with an in your face celebration to break the spirits of NSW in the 66th minute.

Hunt’s big moments came of the back of another typical Queensland performance from DCE, with the old boy laying on the first try for Hunt, another one later in the game and generally steering the show.

It’s unknown how the richest and most populous state will combat the two old fellas for the rest of the series.

More to come.


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