Blues report card: Scariest part of Baby Blues’ blitz
LEADING into Game One, the Origin appearances tally of the NSW backs read like a dismal top-order collapse.
James Tedesco 4, Tom Trbojevic 0, Latrell Mitchell 0, James Roberts 0 and Josh Addo-Carr 0. But on tonight's performance you wouldn't know this young band of Blues were new to the Origin arena.
Of the back five, only Roberts failed to score, and he was opposite an inspired Greg Inglis.
Of course, the speedsters can only reap the rewards when the forwards are setting the platform, and didn't the Blues big-men do just that.
David Klemmer was a mountain in the middle third, and Damien Cook would've been a popular man of the match if Tedesco didn't run riot.
We evaluate the performance of every aspect of the winning NSW side in our Blues' Origin I report card.
The Blues forwards certainly didn't shirk their task. David Klemmer set the tone with two tough carries in the first set including the always highly-anticipated kick-off return. He amassed 104 metres from nine hit-ups in the first half alone.
He was ably assisted by debutant Reagan Campbell-Gillard, and the back-rowers were outstanding.
Captain Boyd Cordner was a "warrior", as described by his coach Brad Fittler. He finished with a game-high 21 hit-ups and was a brick wall in defence.
While Tyson Frizell wreaked havoc in attack on the right edge, and looked after his diminutive number 7, making an incredible 35 tackles as the Maroons directed raid after raid at Nathan Cleary.
But Damien Cook was the standout. The Rabbitohs rake stood tall in the cauldron of Origin tackling everything that moved (52 tackles in all) and threatening every time he looked up from dummy half. He was instrumental in the opening try, darting out from the ruck, beating Felise Kaufusi and sending James Maloney into the backfield, where he linked up with tryscorer James Tedesco.
Both James Maloney and Nathan Cleary made a point of running the ball early to make sure the Maroons defenders were always in two minds. Their kicking games were largely on song, with the pair forcing a number of repeat sets with deft grubbers, and Maloney's cross-field kick to Tom Trbojevic was inch perfect.
Maloney would've felt the heat after gifting Valentine Holmes an intercept try, and then threw a forward pass which led to a try. But he bounced back to set up Josh Addo-Carr's meat pie with a long cut-out pass.
Cleary handled the occasion with the maturity that most expected. He seemed to be a calming presence for the Blues, and defended strongly against the Inglis-led left edge with the help of his bodyguard Tyson Frizell.
James Tedesco scored the first backing up James Maloney but it was the Blues second four-pointer that really showed the custodian's class.
He doubled pumped to draw in Will Chambers and then shot it to Latrell Mitchell who was never going to be stopped that close to the line.
It ended up being a day out for the man of the match. He ran for 220 metres, including 12 tackle busts and two line breaks, and laid on two tries.
Mitchell was untouchable all night, bumping off the first defender at will. The crucial try just after halftime was just deserts for a quality debut from the boy from Taree.
The same could be said of Josh Addo-Carr. The speedster capped of a brilliant performance with a try in the 70th minute to give the Blues breathing space. He used his fancy footwork to keep the Blues rolling forward throughout the match, diffused dangerous kicks and then got the ball down just inside the corner post after the Maroons were at sixes and sevens thanks to a Tedesco break.
And wasn't it a night for Tom Trbojevic. When you are blindsided by a launching Greg Inglis in the first half on debut you have every right to be rattled. Instead, the 21-year-old forged on confidently and scored a great Origin try.
He flew high with his opposite number Valentine Holmes, and actually pinched it from Holmes mid-air to score
James Roberts was kept fairly quiet by a rampaging Inglis, who had an inspired night as Maroons skipper. He was the only member of the baby Blues back five not to cross.
None of the NSW reserves did themselves a disservice. Tyrone Peachey didn't get much of a crack at them, but the three big men all put their hands up when they were given the nod.
Jake Trbojevic was the pick of the benchmen, backing up his 78 metres from nine carries with 35 tackles.
Angus Crichton threw himself into the action on debut too. He finished with 33 tackles and got the arm free a couple of times. And Paul Vaughan was a presence when he came on fresh at the half-hour mark.
Well Freddy is one from one in Origin. It's too soon for New South Welshmen to get carried away but there were clearly some great signs from Game One.
His injection of youth and speed proved to be the correct one, with his inexperienced backline causing plenty of headaches for Kevin Walters' men.
As the youngsters get more acclimatised to the high-pressure environment of Origin, and get more used to their new teammates and game plan, you'd have to think there are plenty more points in this team.
It was revealed also that Fittler provided his men with extra tight jerseys. And Tedesco raved about the masterstroke after the full-time siren.
In his post-match comments Fittler was cool, calm and collected, and there is no way he is going to allow his charges to let this win go to their heads.