Despite all that, NSW did well to be down only 20-6 at half-time, and still we felt a glimmer of hope.

“This is Origin football,” Thompson said as the second half began. “Don’t write the Blues off just yet.”

We didn’t want to. And to be fair to the Blues, they really did try, even jagging a great try for Zac Lomax after a clever kick from Nicho Hynes to bring it back to 20-10 just three minutes into the second half.

But, apres ca, le deluge.

It is not that league is a zero-sum game more than any other, but you simply can’t have 12 good men and true in Origin football going up against 13 rampaging maroon men for more than 70 minutes without the former being completely shattered with exhaustion. And so it proved.

In the final 15 minutes, error followed error from the Blues and the murderous Maroons just kept turning the screw to score another three tries and finish 38-10 to the good.

So, let the record show. The Maroons won the first match of the series.


“History tells us,” Thompson noted, “almost 75 per cent of the time, the team that wins game one goes on to wrap it up.”

The percentage chance when Queensland win the first match in Sydney? I, for one, don’t want to handle the truth.

It is not absolutely certain that the Lineker dictum, originally used to describe England versus Germany soccer matches, will hold for the Origin series.

But to counter it, we’ll need a bigger miracle than that time a star mysteriously appeared in the east.

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