The Queensland Government's decision to splash $8 million to get the State of Origin opener to Townsville backfired in a big way on Wednesday night as NSW recorded their biggest-ever win.
Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell starred as the visitors obliterated Queensland 50-6 in the first State of Origin match ever played in Townsville.
'NO SHAME': NSW Premier's State of Origin stunt backfires
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk paid a reported $8 million to secure the hosting rights for the series opener after a Covid outbreak in Melbourne forced the NRL to move the game away from the MCG.
However Palaszczuk might have been left to regret the decision as she watched on from the stands as NSW handed Queensland their heaviest defeat at interstate level since 1963.
The NRL's decision to move Game I to Townsville initially sparked outrage as it meant Queensland got to host the first two games of the series - an unprecedented advantage.
And Palaszczuk only caused more outrage when she described those complaining in NSW as "whingers".
“I understand New South Wales are whingeing and you’d expect that from New South Wales,” she said in the lead-up to Game I.
“They’re good at whingeing and that’s all I ever hear is whinge, whinge, whinge from New South Wales.
"This is value for money... and the benefits that it will bring into the local economy is going to be flowing.”
So NSW fans and former players were only too happy to pile on Palaszczuk on Wednesday night when her sledging backfired spectacularly.
“New South Wales were red hot last night, everything seemed to work. They played as well as they could so massive performance," former NSW halfback Brett Kimmorley told Channel 7 on Thursday.
“It was really entertaining to watch, I’m glad there was a sellout crowd, we’ll take the $8 million the Queensland Government paid for the game to go up there and we’ll move on to Suncorp, how good is that."
Queensland humiliated in record State of Origin thrashing
Fox Sports reporter Josh Bristow said "the oxygen was sucked out of the entire town" on Wednesday night.
"Going down into the rooms it was very quiet, very subdued. There were no beers to be seen, which was good for the Maroons.
“Absolutely embarrassed, very sheepish with us and then you went out into town which was supposed to be a celebration of North Queensland rugby league.
"Everyone was going home at midnight which was not what everyone was expecting - that scoreline.”
New Maroons coach Paul Green could only watch in horror as the Blues piled on eight tries, forcing him to concede he could have done things differently.
With Kalyn Ponga an early camp casualty, Cameron Munster, Harry Grant and AJ Brimson nursing injuries and Dane Gagai battling tonsillitis it meant the squad didn't train as a complete group until Sunday.
"Obviously to rock up and play like we did tonight, we've got a few things wrong," captain Daly Cherry-Evans said.
"Not just the execution tonight but probably in the way we prepared, so we've got a bit of time to think about it and the right people to fix it."
Green admitted he would assess his own methods as part of a rigorous post-mortem before the sides meet again in Brisbane on June 27.
"It's a new group in some respects, a new coach so what I might have let go through the week in terms of execution I may not have if I'd had a bit more experience with them," he said.
"It's about learning from it and making sure we don't let it happen again."
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