Queensland skipper Daly Cherry-Evans rubs salt in NSW Blues State of Origin wounds after game one

Daly Cherry-Evans had an icy message for the Blues after leading Queensland to a dominant State of Origin victory in the opening game at Accor Stadium.

The Blues were forced to play over 70 minutes with a man down after Joseph Suaali’i sent off Reece Walsh early on with a high ball, with the Queensland full-back also ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

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The early incident changed the entire face of the game as the Maroons raced to a 20-6 lead at the break.

NSW showed some heart after the restart, scoring a second try through Zac Lomax and dictating the game before a 40-20 Cherry-Evans swung the momentum back in Queensland’s favor for good as they cruised to a 38-10 victory.

After all the pre-match talk about the Blues’ four-forward bench, compared to Queensland’s split of forwards and backs, Maroons coach Billy Slater was left looking like a genius for helping Selwyn Cobbo overcome the loss of Walsh so early.

Cherry-Evans, 35, was named man of the match for his starring role and was quick to acknowledge Slater after the big win in Sydney, ahead of clashes in Melbourne and Brisbane.

“We trust Billy (Slater),” Cherry-Evans said.

“He put Selwyn on the bench and it was a master move. Not that we wanted it, but that’s what we trained for.”

That’s when the skipper kicked the Blues while they were down and asked him if he could see such a one-sided result happening before the opening series.

“I am, to be honest,” he replied. “We worked so hard together all week.

“We were so determined to get this one and it paid off.”

Liam Martin and Zac Lomax have been among NSW’s best, while a somewhat rudderless attack in attack will prompt predictable calls for Mitchell Moses to return for game two.

Moses impressed on his return from injury for the Eels last week and has already been linked with a swift return to the Blues side.

Dylan Edwards would also be a candidate to replace James Tedesco after the Penrith custodian was ruled out with a quad injury.

Realistically, the Blues’ chances of a first win were ruined by the suspension.

“Probably their worst nightmare,” Channel 9’s Phil Gould said.

“It was hard enough to beat them with 13 men, let alone 12.

“They have a lot of work to do if they want to get back into the series in Melbourne.”

Jake Trbojevic, who was very quiet in his first game as NSW captain, also struggled to find the positives.

“It was a tough night, not too much went according to plan,” he said.

“There was a period where we showed a lot of fight. We were probably on top there for 20 minutes after half-time.

“We still have a few more games to go. Disappointing night, disappointing to lose at home.”

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