You can tell from watching any Origin that the games are faster and more physical than regular NRL fixtures but Telstra Tracker data can now quantify the surge in intensity that is required of players.
The average metres per minute run by players in the Telstra Premiership is 77, across forwards, backs and bench players, taking into account how far they travel in their time on field.
That jumped to a whopping 95 through the 80 minutes of the Holden State of Origin series opener. Only one of the 34 players (Nathan Cleary at 96 so far this year) averages as much or more week to week.
Interestingly, and perhaps counter-intuitively, the intensity actually lifted in the second half. There are a few factors influencing this.
There was a slight drop in stoppages with 10 first-half errors and five first-half penalties compared to eight and three respectively in the second half. There were four second-half tries compared to one in the opening stanza but the dead time around tries is removed from the analysis.
Short, high-energy bursts off the bench from utilities Jack Wighton and Moses Mbye (who notched the top two intensity readings of the game in their limited minutes) also dragged the average up in the second stanza.
There was almost nothing separating the two stats' intensity across the contest overall but there were significant disparities between the forwards and backs of either state.
The Maroons backs were operating at a much higher intensity than their Blues counterparts (91-83) while for NSW it was the forwards with a big 97-89 edge in intensity.