NSW star puts on show for big Melbourne crowd
MISSION accomplished, for New South Wales and the NRL.
Both had a lot to lose on Wednesday night at the MCG.
The new-look Blues, fielding a record 11 debutants, went into the State of Origin series opener against arch rivals Queensland the overwhelming favourites to prevail in the series opener.
The NRL had skin in the game too.
A poor crowd and the heartland would be up in arms about the code's willingness and persistence to take Origin on the road and deep in AFL territory.
AFL is a religion in Melbourne.
But Melburnians also don't discriminate when it comes to sports - of all sorts.
It was no different on Wednesday night at the MCG, with a heaving crowd of 87,122 watching New South Wales demolish Queensland 22-12.
If Billy Slater changed the way fullbacks play the game, then Blues No.1 James Tedesco has been watching the Queensland legend very closely.
With Slater sidelined with a hamstring injury, Tedesco sliced and diced the Maroons into submission.
Darting runs and offloads created opportunity after opportunity for the Baby Blues.
Big moments win Origins.
It is that simple.
For the best part of 15 years Queensland icons Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Johnathon Thurston and Slater owned the moments, the responsibility, and by virtue, the Origin arena.
It was Tedesco's turn on Wednesday night.
The Sydney Roosters fullback paced the Blues to victory with an oustanding performance.
He was not alone.
The Baby Blues, powered by a record 11 debutants, had contributors across the hallowed turf.
They absorbed the trademark Maroons pressure.
They absorbed the trademark Maroons kicking game.
They punished the all-conquering Maroons.
But it was in vain.
This Blues side bears no scars of Origins past.