I honestly wasn't going to do one of these this year, on account of how Peter V'Landys has ruined the sport by turning it into a new game called "gigglefuck", where the only thing that matters is 50-4 blowouts in an attempt to separate idiots from their Sportsbet accounts.
However, I am, as ever, a man of the people. Ask and ye shall receive. The first game of the 2021 State of Origin was played by at least one team, and a result was certainly achieved. Who won? Not Rugby League, that's for damn sure.
1: James Sarah-Blasko
Wasn't asked to do a whole lot. Didn't.
2: Brian As Well
Was handed the ball, accepted it without fumbling, and placed it on the tryline at his feet. Nothing more. He is not the second coming of Ken Irvine, he is not amazingly gifted, he did his job to satisfaction. Stop praising people for not shitting the bed. Just because Campbell can't do it doesn't make it hard.
I have never, in my entire life, ever said a bad word about Trell. He is an asset to humanity and I look forward to him spending the next 15 years in the cardinal and myrtle.
4: Tom Wheeloffortune
For a centre he sure makes a good fullback. Fortunately for Blues fans he seems to have figured this out himself. A marked improvement in his game once he told Tabasco to take a knee.
5: Jamie Foxx
It's not his fault the ball never came his way and I can't really blame him for that. I feel like I should, but I can't.
6: Jarome Luai
No, you don't get a nickname. Nicknames are for closers. Brought his club level Savoury Shapes middling ability to Origin and came up against a Queensland side too incompetent to exploit it. Owes Kaufusi a case, since everything Luai accomplished was a direct result of Kaufusi doing something stupid. Looked incredibly surprised when he was bumped off by Kaufusi and somehow managed to flail into knocking the ball loose and had the same expression again when Lee Harvey Oswald sniped Kaufusi, allowing Luai free space. Do not confuse this for talent.
7: Easter Island
Has added to his already brimming kit bag of "kick to the wing" and "pass to a backrower", now boasting the inspired "run through the hole in the defense." Truly a footballing genius. I can't wait for his next Zoolander trick shot the News Corp press will rave over, probably something like "make-it-look-like-you're-going-to-pass-but-then-not-actually-pass-thus-deceiving-the-defense", though he'll have to come up with a name for it. Incredibly refreshing watching him get whacked around the head. It's Cleary that the rules don't apply to him, as he was spraying blood like a Tarantino film and got to remain on the field. Probably because it had to cover so much ground dripping down that mesa of a chin that it dried before it hit his jersey.
8: Daniel Saifiti
His best game in a Blue jumper, not doing anything so outrageously stupid that it sticks in the memory. Literally fell over the line for a try, which shouldn't merit mention, but I've seen Burgii lose it from there so...no, I can't. No praise for not shitting the bed.
9: Damien Cookdidyouknowheusedtobeabeachsprinter
Seems to have briefly remembered that he's the best running hooker in the game. After not registering a single run against Penrith two weeks ago he was due for some actual effort. Put in that effort for a glittering 15 minute period in the first half, before deciding that he couldn't be arsed anymore. Par for the course for Cooky. Topped the tackle count with 34, showing just how little anyone in NSW had to do.
10: Jake Wheeloffortune
What's he doing playing prop? What's he doing in the side at all? Would it all have been a monumental failure if the opposing team had played better than a d-grade pickup side? Some answers mankind was just not meant to know.
11: Cameron Murray
Seems to attract more painful attention coming out of the line than the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landing on Juno Beach. Stop playing Origin Cam, it's silly buggers. Keep yourself right for Souths son, that's where you're really needed.
12: Tariq Sims
I swear I thought he'd retired. Maybe he had. The proverbial blind squirrel. Provided thrust, penetration, post-contact meters and a surprising passing game. All of this completely ambushed Queensland, as they're used to this edge being locked down by Boyd "Run Three Meters And Fall Over" Cordner.
13: Isaah Yeo
Probably the most instantly forgettable human being on the planet. Actually, probably not human. The only explanation is that Yeo's career is the result of some Disney fairytale, where someone made a wish upon a falling star and the piece of ungarnished white toast they were eating came to life and expressed an interest in playing rugby league.
14: Jack Wighton
You can't tell me that this guy has the correct amount of chromosomes. Either too few or too many, but definitely not 23 pairs. Since he's the illegitimate love child of Brad Fittler, this isn't surprising.
15: Junior Paulo
A microcosm of NSW Origin over the years. Maintained his usual baseline of just barely reaching the kind of numbers you'd expect at club level. Made a mere 89 metres against a Queensland side that has forgotten how to tackle. A decent forward would have double that. His position in this Blues side will never be questioned.
16: Payne Haas
Brad Fittler seems to have invented a new position in the modern game, that of "absolute fucking nimrod you bring on after 30 minutes so he can do something spectacularly stupid." Payne Haas is the game's leading exponent of this, but he has spawned imitators in Keegan Hipgrave and Liam Knight.
17: Liam Martin
I have genuinely never heard of this guy in my entire life. Who is he? Which club does he play for? How long has he been playing? You might be thinking to yourself "oh, Damo's doing one of his pretend to forget a player bits" but I honestly have never heard of this unit, ever. The best conclusion I could come up with in running was that he was the winner of some kind of "Blatchy's Blues 10,000th Fuckwit" competition and you actually get a run in the second half if the game is beyond doubt. I'm still going with that theory.
1: Valentine Moriarty
A late replacement at fullback for the injured Kalyn Ponga, who is not smarter but is marginally more talented. A competent winger, Moriarty is to fullback play what Phil Gould is to philosophical discourse.
2: Professor Xavier Coates
Just like his namesake Charles Xavier, Coates seems to have difficulty running and jumping. Shakier under a bomb than Tokyo in 1945. Proved last year that he isn't an Origin level player. Proved again last night that he isn't an Origin level player. Proved last year that he isn't a club level player. Proved again this year he isn't a club level player. Maybe look away from Brisbane players for a bit?
3: Kurt Capepoorly
Brought in as an emergency centre in last years heroic series, he is always a backrower playing out of position. Played like a backrower playing out of position. Looked more lost than Christopher Columbus. Ran nearly as far as Colombus sailed, unfortunately never in the direction of the NSW line, and quite often away from it. A sublime dummy and run against the equally out of position Tom Trbovvisjngrgnoigwgwrnwbnxsvic kept the sheet and the shotgun away. Just.
4: Dane Gagai
Obviously didn't trust Coates in either attack or defense. Absolutely correct in this assessment. Down with tonsillitis all week and it showed. Saw less pill than a Scientology exhibition. Had the misfortune of lining up against Latrell Mitchell, who is the most amazing human in the world.
18: Kyle Feldt
I'm starting to think the Card Table's career might have been more about hanging around Thurston and Morgan than any innate ability. Wore the exact "what, it's not my fault, I didn't pick me" expression that Blake Ferguson has perfected over the last decade.
6: Cameron Munster
Played sober. Bad move. Chalk this one up to a glitch, it won't happen again.
7: Monthly Cherry-Evans
The Logan Paul of footy. I'd say he's past it, but he never had it. Did you know he's the highest-paid player in the NRL? If you work a job where you earn $55k a year, it will take you nearly a quarter of a century to make what DCE does in one season. Think about that whenever you watch him play.
8: Christian Welch
The Maroons number 8 comes with certain responsibilities. Chief among these is running into the line so hard that you knock yourself out, then getting back up and doing it another 30 times. Marty Lang, Ben Ross, Shane Webcke, that kind of deal. Well, Welch got the first part right.
9: Harry Grant
I'm not going to blame Grant for Queensland's Somme level injury crisis. He's a symptom, not a cause.
10: Tino Fa'a...Fa'asu...Tino Smith
All the talk pre-game was about the fireworks between Tino and Haas and isn't this what rugbaleeg is all about. That's the thing about hype. Tino's performance last night was the rugbaleeg equivalent of Geraldo Rivera opening Al Capone's vault. Look it up.
11: Felise Kaufusi
The worst performance Kaufusi has ever put in. Ever. Made Jarome Luai look like a superstar, and by god that takes some effort.
12: David Fifita
A late scratching after contracting the St Kilda Sneeze pre-game. It was a bold call by the Qld staff to elect not to bring in the 18th man to cover a missing player, and the gamble didn't...what? He played? Really?
13: Jai Arrow
Pure clubmanship from Arrow, my man of the match. Realised that preserving himself for Souths is way more important than State of Sillybuggers. Let Cook go through for a linebreak, which will be a real confidence booster to the underperforming hooker. This is what sportsmanship is all about.
14: AJ Brimson
The most talented player in the entire Maroons squad and easily their best fullback. Some fifth-dimensional chess by Paul Green to have him coming off the bench as a hooker after the game was well and truly lost. It's a bold move Cotton, let's see if it pays off.
15: Jaydn Waste Management Facility
He got hooked at club level a couple of weeks ago, what the hell were you expecting?
16: Moeaki Fotuaika
Clocked greatest human in the world 'Trell around the ears, which isn't easy to do. That should be a mandatory send-off and 15 weeks suspension. Easily the Maroons best forward, which is kind of like being the world's tallest dwarf, and probably kept on the field due to some kind of mercy rule. Hopefully, the judiciary will sort it out.
17: Jack Ofahengaue
I'm assuming there's some sort of contractual obligation to Channel 9 that at least one Wests Tigers player must be selected in origin, regardless of form, competence, or personal odour. The Tigers usually couldn't knock the skin off a rice custard, and yet they beat Penrith last week. Without Ofahengaue. Let me run those figures through my algorithm.