NSW took the first step towards atoning for its 2020 State of Origin disaster by dismantling Queensland in Townsville on Wednesday night.
It was the first time rugby league's showpiece has been held in a regional city and while the crowd of 27,500 was heavily in the Maroons' favour, it was the Blues who put on the show, running away with a 50-6 victory.
After blowing a healthy half-time lead in last year's Origin opener in Adelaide, a result which was a prelude to "the worst Queensland team ever" winning the series, the Blues ensured there would be no repeat in the first match of 2021.
On the dry, fast Townsville track, the Blues were the dominant side for the opening half hour, scoring three tries in a 10-minute period to skip to a 20-0 lead.
Tom Trbojevic crossed first for NSW in the 17th minute, capitalising on some good field position after Kyle Feldt impeded Josh Addo-Carr.
Penrith winger Brian To'o, in his State of Origin debut, then scored twice in five minutes as the Blues quietened the crowd with their slick ball movement.
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To'o's Panthers teammate Kurt Capewell kept the Maroons in it just before half-time, bursting past Trbojevic to make it 20-6 at the break.
Despite losing prop Christian Welch to concussion, the Maroons might have felt they had a sniff at half-time but Latrell Mitchell ensured it was the Blues who scored first in the second stanza, crossing in the 49th minute re-establish a 20-point buffer.
From that point on, it was party time for the Blues.
Trbojevic scored his second try in the 59th minute before Mitchell made the most of Xavier Coates' error under a high ball to also bag a brace.
Newcastle fans had reason to cheer when Daniel Saifiti barged over the line in the 64th minute to score his first Origin try in his sixth appearance in a NSW jersey, setting up a 44-6 lead for the barnstorming Blues.
Penrith ace Nathan Cleary dispelled any doubts about his ability to carry his club form on to the big stage, setting up Trbojevic for his second Origin hat-trick in the final stages.
It was the second time the Blues have scored 50 points against the Maroons, 21 years after they did it in game three in 2000.
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