Game I

Queensland rally late to draw first blood in Origin series opener

The Maroons trailed by two with six minutes left and despite being down a man in the sin-bin, Cameron Munster and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow combined down the Blues left edge to snatch an unlikely 1-0 series lead.

Tabuai-Fidow, who finished the match with a double, backed up Billy Slater's decision to pick the Dolphins fullback over veteran Dane Gagai with a mammoth effort that included the match-winner.

Marlins take Game I

Kokopo Marlins proved the better side to take the first game defeating Rabaul Ashes 22-14 at the Kalabond oval.

The rugby league rivalry between Kokopo and Rabaul is a new concept that was first trialed out in 2021 and now has become an annual event to kick-off the new footy season.

The make-up of the two teams had a good mix of promising young local talent, led by a host of current Guria players in the likes John Ragi jnr, Ilias Stanley, Koni Benard, Chris Benjamin, Nathan Tente and Junias Guan to guide them around the park.

Maroons spoil Blues homecoming to take series opener

In front of 80,512 fans at Sydney's Olympic Park, the Maroons, led by Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans and debutant Patrick Carrigan, dominated on their own terms with big moment plays helping Queensland to a special win. 

The Blues enjoyed the field possession early to take a 4-0 lead but the injection of Carrigan in the 15th minute swung momentum Queensland's way and from there the visitors came up with points and the defensive efforts late as NSW struggled to take any control in the match. 

Blues v Maroons: Seven debutants ready to shine in Origin opener

Blues coach Brad Fittler has handed debuts to Kotoni Staggs, Ryan Matterson and Stephen Crichton while Jeremiah Nanai, Reuben Cotter, Selwyn Cobbo and Patrick Carrigan will all get their first taste of Origin footy for Queensland.

Having crossed paths as players in 2004 - Fittler's last Origin series and Slater's first - these two iconic figures now go head-to-head as mentors, looking to strike the first blow in front of 80,000 fans at Accor Stadium.

Maroons name four debutants for Origin Game One

North Queensland forwards Reuben Cotter and Jeremiah Nanai have both been rewarded for their strong start to the year with selection in the side, while Broncos winger Selwyn Cobbo is also set to make his Origin debut after just 19 NRL games.

Hynes, Staggs, Matterson headline Blues squad for Origin opener

Staggs and Crichton were both named as part of the extended squad by Blues Coach Brad Fittler, which also included potential Origin debutants in Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes and Eels forward Ryan Matterson.

Hynes was part of the New South Wales Origin camp during the 2021 series, while Matterson was previously 18th Man for the Blues during their successful 2019 campaign.