Queensland legend's warning to NSW after Cameron Munster epic

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·Sports Editor
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Daly Cherry-Evans, Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi, pictured here after Queensland's win in State of Origin I.
Daly Cherry-Evans, Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi celebrate after Queensland's win in State of Origin I. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Cameron Munster may have put in a man-of-the-match performance as Queensland shocked NSW to win the State of Origin series opener on Wednesday night, but according to Maroons legend Wally Lewis he didn't even hit top gear.

Munster was at the centre of everything as the Maroons claimed a 16-10 win at Accor Stadium to take a 1-0 series advantage into Game II in Perth.

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The Queensland five-eighth constantly troubled the NSW defence with his running game, while he ably assisted halfback Daly Cherry-Evans to put their opponents under pressure with the boot.

But in a frightening prospect for NSW, Maroons legend Lewis reckons Munster had even more to offer.

"I've seen better Origin performances from him - and that's a rap," he told AAP.

"I was watching him early and it looked like he was thinking 'yep, I've got plenty of blokes coming at me in defence here. I'll take it easy and just pass the ball on'.

"Then he started to realise that they were getting a bit tired and he started to run at them.

"They're the moments that make a great player."

With Brisbane hosting Game III of the series, the Maroons are firmly in the box seat heading to Perth.

All the pressure now falls on NSW, who face the daunting task of becoming just the fourth side in 43 years to come from 1-0 to win the series.

Only three NSW sides in Origin history have come back to win the series after dropping the first game - in 1994, 2005 and 2019.

Even worse, only one side this century - Queensland in 2017 - have lost the first game with home-ground advantage and gone on to claim the series.

The Blues have achieved the feat only once and not since 1994, after losing Origin I at the SCG before snatching the series with bounce-back victories at the MCG and Suncorp Stadium.

Cameron Munster, pictured here in action for the the Maroons in State of Origin I.
Cameron Munster in action for the the Maroons in State of Origin I. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Cameron Munster and Cherry-Evans firing together

The NSW halves pairing of Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai looked out of sorts in just their third Origin game together, while Cherry-Evans and Munster nailed all the big moments.

The Maroons pair have been Queensland's first-choice halves combination for four years now, and Lewis believes they are building a better understanding of how each other plays.

"The way that they combine now is exceptional," Lewis said.

"I loved playing in the early days of Origin with Mark Murray, then with Alf (Allan Langer).

"You get to the stage where you don't have to tell them what to do. You understand each other's games so comfortably that you'll just react.

"You'll run to a particular area and the bloke that you're working off he'll know that.

"He'll do all the work and he'll put the ball on a platter for you and go there as you are and you'll make the most of it."

"But that's the difference. The great players like Munster, they're the players that can react and can make the most of an opportunity like that and don't let them go."

with AAP

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