It was a performance everyone has become accustomed to from Sharks and NSW skipper Paul Gallen, while although not injected into the game until after half time, Luke Lewis had a huge impact on his teams’ victory.
Gallen was enormous as well as courageous in the win, running for the most metres by any forward in the match, in addition to making 30 tackles despite showing some ill-effects of a late in the back tackle from Josh Papalii.
As for Lewis, his leg speed and footwork were an asset to a tiring NSW team in the second 40-mintues while his versatility was also used to advantage when he capably filled the role of centre in the dying moments when Josh Morris was forced from the field.
The pair complemented a committed NSW outfit who had to call on all their resources to hold Queensland out in a dramatic final five minutes.
After the game Gallen explained it was perhaps possibly even tougher than any of the 16 previous Origin games he had played in, while expressing his pride in the NSW effort.
He also warned the job is far from over, with the Maroons sure to lift in Game Two in Sydney.
“The second ahlf was the toughest I have played in. We kept scrambling. It was courageous,” Gallen said.
“ There is a lot more belief at the moment. Laurie (Daley) stamped his authority. We have set goals for ourselves that are measurable. Every individual has to play to his best.
“If we do that, I think we can win. It’s a matter of doing it again in Sydney.”
Gallen will be assessed for a neck injury on return to the Sharks today, while Lewis appeared to come through the match unscathed.
The Sharks have the bye this week, giving Lewis and Gallen time to rest and recuperate before taking on the Dragons in Wollongong the following weekend.
See all the match highlights from Origin Game One, now playing on Sharks TV