Rookie Maroons get their taste of the big time
Welcome to Origin boys.
What better introduction to rugby league's toughest arena than playing in front of a packed-out crowd at The Cauldron, Suncorp Stadium, for State of Origin Game One.
Last night, eight players made history, proudly representing their state in maroon and blue.
And what a brutal welcome to State of Origin it was.
The pre-game jitters would undoubtedly have been coursing through their veins as six of them sat on the bench to start the game.
All three Maroons newbies - Moses Mbye, Joe Ofahengaue and David Fifita - were itching to get on to the field and it took 20 minutes for one to get a taste of the brutality that is Origin.
Broncos enforcer Ofahengaue will forever remember 8.38pm, June 5, 2019, at Suncorp Stadium as the moment he achieved his childhood dream of playing for the Maroons.
It was also the moment his Brisbane teammate Payne Haas made his much-anticipated debut for the Blues. Both rookies went out full of energy.
Ofahengaue's determination in chasing a Daly Cherry-Evans kick in the 25th minute nearly helped Queensland to their first four-pointer.
The Broncos' trio of debutants found themselves on the field at the same time when Fifita ran on in the 50th minute. And club land meant nothing to them as Haas muscled up against Fifita and Ofahengaue on almost every run.
But the beauty of Origin also comes at a price, when Ofahengaue was taken to the sheds at 9.35pm with a deep cut to his knee.
The 23-year-old was ruled out for the rest of the game and remains in doubt to play for the Broncos this weekend.
Mbye got his chance in the 72nd minute and his brief cameo appearance was good, if not strong.
For the Blues, Nick Cotric was the only debutant to play the full 80 minutes of the match.
Walker was always going to be a dangerman for the Maroons and had the Queenslanders nervous with every touch of the ball.
The livewire five-eighth busted through tackles and made a dangerous linebreak close to the tryline in the first half which had every Queenslander's heart in their mouth.
Luckily, his cut-out pass to Latrell Mitchell was defused by Will Chambers to stop a possible four-pointer.
Walker's South Sydney teammate Cameron Murray was another Blue to prove a handful for the Maroons in both defence and attack.
Jack Wighton's debut was marred when he threw a pass in the dying minutes of the game which Queensland winger Dane Gagai intercepted and ran 90m to score the try that eventually proved to be the matchwinner.