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

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Daly Cherry-Evans had an ice-cold message for the Blues after leading Queensland to a dominant State of Origin win in their first game at Accor Stadium.

The Blues were forced to play more than 70 minutes with a man down after Joseph Suaali’i was sent off early for a high shot on Reece Walsh, while the Queensland fullback was also ruled out for the rest of the game.

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The early incident changed the entire course of the game and the Maroons went into the break with a 20-6 lead.

NSW showed some courage after the break, scoring a second try through Zac Lomax and dominating the game before Cherry-Evans’ 40-20 goal finally turned the momentum back in Queensland’s favour as they stormed to a 38-10 victory.

After all the pre-match talk about the four forwards on the Blues bench compared to Queensland’s split of forwards and defenders, Maroons coach Billy Slater was seen as a genius as Selwyn Cobbo helped overcome the early loss of Walsh.

Cherry-Evans, 35, was named man of the match for his outstanding role and was quick to pay tribute to Slater after the comfortable win in Sydney ahead of matches in Melbourne and Brisbane.

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

“He benched Selwyn and it was a masterpiece. Not that we wanted it, but we trained for it.”

The captain then took on the Blues when they were trailing and asked if he could imagine such a one-sided result ahead of the series opener.

“Honestly, I did,” he replied. “We’ve worked so hard together all week.

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

Liam Martin and Zac Lomax were among NSW’s best players, while a somewhat leaderless attacking performance will predictably spark calls for Mitchell Moses to return for game two.

Moses impressed in his return from injury for the Eels last week and there is already speculation that he could soon return to the Blues side.

Dylan Edwards would also be a candidate to succeed James Tedesco after the Penrith goalkeeper was sidelined with a thigh injury.

Realistically speaking, the Blues’ chances of a first win were ruined by the sending off.

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

“It was hard enough to face 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 positives.

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

“There was a phase in which we showed a lot of fighting spirit. After half-time we were probably superior for 20 minutes.

“There are still a few games left. Disappointing evening, disappointing home defeat.”

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