Perth’s State of Origin game has exploded to life late in the first half, with Queensland’s game one hero Cameron Munster producing the highlight, despite his side trailing.
Munster launched a dashing break to cross and put his team in front after 30 minutes.
It was one of a flurry of tries which started when Felise Kaufusi put Queensland in front, breaking one tackle and riding another in a desperate lunge to to the line.
At the other end, it was an Origin debutant and a seasoned gun pulling New South Wales back into the game and giving them a 14-12 lead at the break.
Matt Burton was on the end of a smart Nathan Cleary kicked and briefly put the Blues in front 26 minutes in.
Burton took the kick receive from his former Penrith teammate and escaped the clutches of a tackle to score.
Cleary converted that try, which came after a nailed a penalty to score the first points of the night. The Panthers skipper’s field kicking was a highlight of the first half for the Blues.
The lead changed four times in the first-half, including after the whistle, when Cleary converted Brian To’s try and took his own tally to six points.
New South Wales dominated the physical opening exchanges and Queensland’s best early scoring opportunity was squandered by an in-goal knock on from Selwyn Cobbo.
Payne Haas and Isaah Yeo found ways to break the line for New South Wales, but breaching the defence was a harder task for Queensland as the Blues dominated the physical opening exchanges
When they did find a way forward, a rare push past their 20-yard line was squandered by a Selwyn Cobbo in-goal knock on.
The Optus Stadium turf, which was transformed in just hours after West Coast’s AFL win on Friday night, troubled Blues captain James Tedesco, who lost his footing and halted momentum on a number of occasions.
Blues forward Cameron Murray was taken off for a head injury assessment but was cleared to return, while first try-scorer Kaufusi finished the half in the sin bin after a high tackle in the dying stages.
Earlier, fans flocked across the Matagarup Bridge and through the stadium surrounds to pack the ground.
They were treated to Aussie rock legends Grinspoon before the game and a stunning Optus Stadium lighting display.