Cameron Smith cops fan backlash in ugly State of Origin 'disgrace'

Cameron Smith, pictured here in commentary for Game I of State of Origin.
Cameron Smith was criticised for his commentary in Game I of State of Origin. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Queensland legend Cameron Smith was the talk of State of Origin on Wednesday night, but not for the right reasons.

Salty NSW fans were left fuming over Smith's commentary for Channel Nine, with many accusing the Maroons hero of stepping over the line while cheering on his state.

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While commentators are normally meant to be unbiased and call the game how they see it, that principle usually flies out the window during State of Origin.

In Wednesday night's series opener in Sydney, Smith could be heard cheering on the Queenslanders on multiple occasions throughout the match.

At one stage after Cameron Munster made a line break, Smith screamed "Go Munster!!"

The former captain was audibly cheering and celebrating every time the Maroons scored, and wasn't shy about doing it over the microphone.

Smith's name was trending on Twitter throughout the match, with many viewers claiming he blurred the line between fan and commentator and was too biased.

"Cameron Smith in the box is an absolute disgrace. Genuinely embarrassing having him on commentary," one fan wrote.

Cameron Smith, pictured here congratulating Billy Slater after Queensland's victory in the State of Origin opener.
Cameron Smith congratulates Billy Slater after Queensland's victory in the State of Origin opener. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Another wrote: "Absolutely woeful commentary. Remove Cameron Smith out of the box, incapable of being impartial.

"Unprofessional screaming for Qld. Disgrace that you keep exclusive rights to the coverage."

While a third added: "Cam Smith was insufferable as a player. He’s taken it to a whole nother level in the commentary box. My goodness."

Cameron Munster stars as Queensland beat NSW

Munster produced three famous State of Origin plays to lead Queensland to a shock 16-10 win over NSW in the series opener at Accor Stadium.

In a return to the famed Origin grind after years of blowouts, Munster was at his brilliant best for the Maroons as they jumped to a 16-4 lead before holding out the fast-finishing Blues.

With four debutants in their side, Queensland were forced to overcome an ankle injury which sidelined winger Xavier Coates in the first half while newcomer Jeremiah Nanai battled through a similar issue.

It was the Maroons' first win in Sydney since 2017, when Johnathan Thurston nailed a last-minute conversion in his last series beside Smith and Billy Slater.

Rookie forward Patrick Carrigan swung the momentum of the match off the bench and fellow debutant Reuben Cotter made 49 tackles, while halves Daly Cherry-Evans and Munster both played direct in attack.

Cameron Munster, pictured here celebrating with teammates after Queensland's win over NSW in Game I.
Cameron Munster celebrates with teammates after Queensland's win over NSW in Game I. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Kalyn Ponga had one of his best nights in Origin at fullback, playing a role in two Maroons tries and pulling off a last-play tackle under the posts on Isaah Yeo on the siren.

"They're little moments but they are big moments," Slater said.

"It wasn't our game that won us the game tonight. It was the way Queensland have played for decades.

"That's what won us the game tonight."

In contrast the Blues were frantic, desperately chasing points in the second half as they struggled to win the ruck and halfback Nathan Cleary admitted they tried to move the ball around too much.

NSW coach Brad Fittler insisted his side had the confidence to bounce back in Perth and Brisbane.

"It's always tough. If you lose the first one you are up against it," Fittler said.

"But winning the game there last year at Suncorp gives us a lot of confidence."

with AAP

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