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King Wally's surprise verdict on Munster's Origin masterclass

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9th June, 2022
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Cameron Munster put in a man-of-the-match performance in Wednesday’s State of Origin series opener, but Maroons great Wally Lewis has warned NSW the Queensland five-eighth is yet to hit top gear.

Munster was in the heart of everything the Maroons did right as they claimed a 16-10 win at Accor Stadium to take a 1-0 series advantage into Game II in Perth.

The Queensland No. 6 constantly troubled the NSW defence with his running game, while he ably assisted halfback Daly Cherry-Evans to put their opponents under pressure with the boot.

But in a frightening prospect for NSW, Lewis suggested the mercurial playmaker had more to offer.
“I’ve seen better Origin performances from him – and that’s a rap,” he told AAP.

“I was watching him early and it looked like he was thinking ‘yep, I’ve got plenty of blokes coming at me in defence here. I’ll take it easy and just pass the ball on’.

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“Then he started to realise that they were getting a bit tired and he started to run at them. They’re the moments that make a great player.”

With Brisbane hosting Game III, the Maroons are firmly in the box seat thanks to Munster’s display which was underpinned by Billy Slater’s smart bench rotation in his maiden game as Maroons coach.

All the pressure now falls on NSW, who face the daunting task of becoming just the fourth side in 43 years to come from 1-0 to win the series.

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The NSW halves pairing of Penrith’s Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai looked off-song in just their third Origin together, while Cherry-Evans and Munster nailed the big moments.

Cameron Munster of the Maroons takes a selfie with fans after game one of the 2022 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on June 08, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Cameron Munster of the Maroons takes a selfie with fans after game one of the 2022 State of Origin series. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Maroons pair have been Queensland’s first-choice halves combination for four years and Lewis claimed they were building a better understanding of how each other play.

“The way that they combine now is exceptional,” Lewis said. “I loved playing in the early days of Origin with Mark Murray, then with Alf (Allan Langer).

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“You get to the stage where you don’t have to tell them what to do. You understand each other’s games so comfortably that you’ll just react.

“You’ll run to a particular area and the bloke that you’re working off he’ll know that.

“He’ll do all the work and he’ll put the ball on a platter for you and go there as you are and you’ll make the most of it.

“But that’s the difference. The great players like Munster, they’re the players that can react and can make the most of an opportunity like that and don’t let them go.”

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