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Cometh the hour, cometh the Cam.

Not for the first time and certainly not the last, Maroons maestro Cam Munster turned the game's biggest stage into his own backyard as he led his state to a memorable 16-10 win over NSW in the Origin opener in Sydney.

Playing in his 14th straight Origin, Munster admitted to a being a "little bit quiet" in the first half but when the game was there to be won, the champion No.6 made the championship minutes his own.

Much has been made of the changes Munster has made in his personal life, giving up alcohol and shedding his party boy image to focus more on footy and family, and the pay-off came in spectacular fashion at Accor Stadium on Wednesday night.

Not that the 27-year-old didn't dominate games before this year, but with a fresh perspective and growing maturity comes an even greater appreciation of what he could have lost had he stayed on the old path.

Match Highlights: Blues v Maroons

"Obviously not drinking, being fitter, being a bit more present at training and a bit more consistent on the footy paddock... I'm really enjoying my footy at the moment," Munster said in the jubilant Maroons sheds post-match.

"I’m probably giving a lot more to the younger boys coming through and giving them a bit more guidance and they are taking that on board and listening to me when they can and I’ve been getting a kick out of that.

"Everyone says I turn up in big games but it's when you play on a Sunday at Leichhardt Oval or in Canberra when it's a bit cold and no one wants to be there, that’s when I need to stand up.

Slater: They're like family

"The first half I was a little bit quiet so I knew I needed to turn it on and I was lucky enough to do that.

"Sometimes I don’t really know what I’m doing so the defence doesn’t know what I’m doing and that's a nice trait to have.

"I just have to keep playing my style of footy and I did that at the back end of the game."

That unpredictable, uncoachable 'style of footy' saw Munster run for 198 metres, break seven tackles and deliver two offloads, as well as coming up with a potentially match-saving strip on Stephen Crichton with the Blues pressing hard in the 74th minute.

It was vintage Munster and the sort of play new coach Billy Slater will be hoping to see more of as the Maroons head to Perth on June 26 to try and wrap up the series.

"The game Cameron Munster had tonight, he’s in a really good place at the moment, he’s great to have around and he’s playing some exceptional footy," Slater said.

Gagai scores a special Origin try

"We want the footy in Cam’s hands but everyone has a role to in our team. It’s not just 'give Munster the ball', that doesn’t work. You’ve got to have a structure, you’ve got to play footy and know our game and we’ve got improvement in our game.

"But it wasn’t our game that won us the match, it was the way Queensland have played for decades, that’s what won us the game tonight.

"Sometimes we move on too quick in life and we don’t appreciate where our feet are at so we need to enjoy this moment. It means a lot to us."

From debutants Reuben Cotter, Selwyn Cobbo and Patrick Carrigan to proven performers like Val Holmes, Dane Gagai, Daly Cherry-Evans and Munster, the Maroons delivered a performance worthy of their coach's praise and worthy of a quiet beers to celebrate.

High praise: Smith likens Cotter to Johnson

Back in 2020, when Munster helped orchestrate one of the great Origin upsets and took home man-of-the-match honours in Game Three, the esky may have been his first port of call.

Not so in 2022, as Munster let others take the limelight in media interviews before emerging around 11.30pm to reflect on his performance and reveal that being part of a 'dry' Origin camp has been easy, especially with the support of the Maroons brotherhood.

"It doesn’t faze me not to have beers anymore. I haven’t even had an urge or feel like I’m missing out," he said.

"I can still enjoy my life and good times with the boys without having a beer. Everyone has been really good about it.

"At the end of the day if they want me to play my best footy they’ll be more supportive in that regard."

Acknowledgement of Country

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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