NSW debutant Matt Burton signalled his intent to be an Origin player for a long time after a brilliant performance, but it was one moment that left NRL fans absolutely stunned.
Cleary put on a masterclass in a must-win clash for NSW as the Blues battered the Maroons 44-12 in Perth.
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The Blues made seven changes and coach Brad Fittler's move paid dividends with a number of the players performing.
And debutant Burton shined in his first State of Origin game and was instrumental in giving NSW the advantage in the backs.
Many fans were also waiting to see if Burton would be tossed the ball to send up one of his spiralling bombs to trouble the Maroons.
And in the first minute after half-time, Burton was granted the ball in the middle of the field.
The NRL world watched on in awe as Burton sent the ball into orbit, which left the Queensland backs chasing shadows.
“Is this going to America? Are the NFL scouts watching this? Look how much it is swinging away,” NRL Immortal Andrew Johs said during Channel Nine commentary.
“That is phenomenal.”
The State of Origin arena has seen some spectacular feats, but Burton's spiralling bomb had many in utter disbelief.
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) June 26, 2022
Things I’d rather do than catch a Burton bomb with Junior Paulo chasing.
all the things
— Adam Peacock (@adampeacock3) June 26, 2022
— Adam Hayward (@Hayward_AdamK) June 26, 2022
Nothing more stunning than watching a Burton bomb go up and hearing the crowd react 🥰🤩
— Nic ✨ (@justnictings) June 26, 2022
Was that a SpaceX launch or a Matt Burton bomb?
— NSW Blues Brothers (@NSWBluesBrother) June 26, 2022
#NRL I wonder if the NRL will have to alert aircraft or flight control towers that Matt Burton is playing and to avoid flying over the ground at some point due to risk of a Burton bomb hitting a low flying plane...😅 #origin
— Some Sports Channels Ain't What They Used to Be (@crowdiegal) June 26, 2022
Matt Burton sending them bombs into orbit 🚀🏉 #StateofOrigin
— Chris Broadley (@chrisbroadley90) June 26, 2022
Nathan Cleary's State of Origin masterclass
While Burton produced a stunning debut, Cleary stole the show with a masterclass in Game 2.
The star halfback went into the game having criticised his own performance after Game 1, but looked a different player as he set up two tries, scored two of his own and nailed a perfect eight from eight goals.
The dominant victory followed Queensland's 16-10 win in the series opener in Sydney, with NSW now chasing a win in Brisbane to seal the series from 1-0 for just the fourth time.
And after the match, Fox Sports commentator Yvonne Sampson pointed out that Cleary went 'berserk' in response to his Game 1 performance and doubters.
NRL great Michael Ennis went one step further and said he hadn't seen such a dominant performance from a NSW half since Andrew Johns in 2005.
“A historical individual performance,” Michael Ennis said.
“I haven’t seen a more dominant individual performance from a New South Wales half since Andrew Johns in 2005... it was incredible from Nathan Cleary.”
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