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Just weeks ago Latrell Mitchell was being touted as the best player in the game but a second-half sin-binning capped a night to forget for the NSW centre as Queensland overpowered the Blues to move to within one win of regaining the State of Origin shield.

While most of the focus in the lead-up to the series opener at Suncorp Stadium had been on the potency of Queensland's left edge, the Maroons caused just as much trouble for NSW on the opposite side of the field where Mitchell and winger Josh Addo-Carr defended.

The Blues left side edge combination of Mitchell, Addo-Carr, second-rower Boyd Cordner and five-eighth Cody Walker appeared disjointed, with the latter struggling to get into the game.

Despite having training as a running back rower or centre in the lead up to the match, Jack Wighton was thrust into the five-eighth role for Walker in the 56th minute as NSW coach Brad Fittler searched for solutions.

Just two minutes later, the Blues were reduced to 12 men after Mitchell was sin-binned for a professional foul and they could not hang on.

Mitchell was jeered by the 52,191 pro-Queensland crowd as he made his way to the sideline after holding back Maroons second-rower Matt Gillett as he chased a Cameron Munster grubber into the NSW in-goal.

Remarkably the Blues appeared set to regain the lead as Mitchell waited on the sideline to return in the 68th minute but Queensland winger Dane Gagai snatched a pass from Wighton and raced 95 metres to score.

The intercept try was a killer blow for NSW and after making his way back onto the field while Kalyn Ponga lined up his conversion attempt, Mitchell was then unable to prevent Gagai from getting his second try in the 71st minute.

While Queensland already had the momentum in the second half, the sin-binning was a clear turning point as Ponga levelled the scores at 8-8 from the penalty goal and Gagai's try put them ahead for the first time in the match.

After starring for NSW in last year’s Origin series triumph, Mitchell couldn’t find his rhythm and Queensland opposite Will Chambers comfortably won their dual as he carried the ball 116 metres, while Gagai ran for 270 metres.

In contrast, Mitchell carried the ball 77 metres, while Walker ran four times for 36 metres. 

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

The NSW forwards dominated play through the middle of the field in the first half but Queensland got on top after prop David Klemmer was finally spelled in the 52nd minute.

He had such an impact on the game Fittler seemed reluctant to replace him. Klemmer did not return and after playing the opening 29 minutes Tyson Frizell was only sent back on for the last 10 minutes of the game. 

By the time NSW scored their first try through veteran centre Josh Morris in the 20th minute, Klemmer had already run 106 metres. He finished with 149 metres.

Fellow Blues prop Paul Vaughan (75 metres), fullback James Tedesco (78 metres) and lock Jake Trbojevic (60 metres) had also carried the ball further than any Queensland player in the opening 20 minutes.

NSW hooker Damien Cook was also causing problems for the Maroons around the ruck and he made 58 metres from five first half dummy-half runs as Queensland struggled to stop the Blues marching up field in possession.

The Blues completed 19 of their 20 sets of possession in the first half, compared to 18 of 21 by Queensland, but managed to get to the sixth tackle without error on just 13 of 17 occasions in the second half. 

Yet even before Morris squeezed his way across the try line to put the Blues ahead 8-0 after a 13th minute Cleary penalty goal, there were signs NSW were struggling to hold the Maroons out wide.

Winger Corey Oates had a try disallowed in the 18th minute and interchange prop Dylan Napa was also denied by the bunker.

Only the desperation of Addo-Carr and fullback James Tedesco prevented Chambers from scoring before half-time after Queensland five-eighth Cameron Munster stepped inside Mitchell and made a long break.

There was no denying Queensland in the second half and Oates scored in the 53rd minute as momentum swung the way of the home team and Mitchell felt the need to tackle Gillett without the ball to prevent another try five minutes later.

After watching from the sideline as Gagai scored his intercept try, Mitchell was unable to prevent the Maroons winger from scoring his second try four minutes later off a perfectly time cut-out pass from fullback Kalyn Ponga. 

It was that kind of night for Mitchell, and the Blues.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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