Maroons Dominate State of Origin Opener with Suaalii’s Red Card

State of Origin Game 1: Maroons Cruise to Victory as Suaalii Sees Red

(June 7, 2024 – BBC Sport)

The opening stages of Game 1 of the 2024 State of Origin series will be remembered for a contentious red card shown to New South Wales’ Joseph Suaalii in the 7th minute. At the time, Queensland held a slender 6-0 lead, but the Maroons ultimately cruised to a convincing 38-10 victory – their biggest ever winning margin in Sydney.

Suaalii’s high shot on Queensland fullback Reece Walsh proved to be a pivotal moment, with the Roosters centre receiving his marching orders for the dangerous tackle. Despite a gutsy middle period from the depleted Blues, Queensland flexed their experience and class, with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow scoring a hat-trick and Daly Cherry-Evans earning the man-of-the-match award.

“The early send-off inevitably changed the complexion of the contest, but it also seemed to lift the pressure on New South Wales.”

With Game 2 set for a neutral venue in Melbourne, Michael Maguire’s side showed tremendous spirit and determination to ensure the series opener didn’t end in total embarrassment.

While NSW held their own for large stretches, the numerical advantage ultimately proved too much for them to overcome. Queensland’s attacking masterclass, spearheaded by the influential Cherry-Evans, allowed them to pull away in the final quarter, with tries from Ben Hunt, Xavier Coates and Tabuai-Fidow putting the result beyond doubt.

Despite the disappointing outcome, the performance of the undermanned Blues suggested there is a newfound resilience and teamwork within the squad under Maguire’s guidance. The likes of Liam Martin, Brian To’o and Spencer Leniu epitomized the grit and determination that will be crucial if NSW are to bounce back in the remainder of the series.

As Suaalii departs for rugby union at the end of the year, he will hope his Origin debut nightmare is not an omen for his future endeavours. For now, the focus shifts to Game 2 in Melbourne, where both sides will be eager to stake their claim for State of Origin supremacy.

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