Seriously, has there been a better centre pairing than what the world witnessed on Wednesday night?
Seriously, has there been a better centre pairing than what the world witnessed on Wednesday night?

One of league’s great partnerships was born in Origin I

We've just witnessed the start of something very, very special.


In years to come, we will look back on State of Origin I in 2021 as the night one of rugby league's greatest partnerships was officially born.

And Paul Green now has just over two weeks to come up with a plan to stop Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell before Origin II at Suncorp on June 27.

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Good luck with that.

Unless he can find a way of turning back the clock and reinventing big Mal Meninga and Gene Miles in their prime, what hope do the Queenslanders really have to save this series?

Who cares if they'll be playing the next game at Suncorp? It wouldn't matter where they played on Wednesday night.

Nothing was going to stop Turbo and Latrell.

Seriously, has NSW ever had a better centre pairing in the Origin era?

We've had some beauties over the years.

You think of names like Mick Cronin and Steve Rogers in the 1980s, Paul 'Mary' McGregor and Brad Fittler in the'90s, Mark Gasnier and Matt Cooper in the 2000s.

They were all brilliant.


But better than Turbo and Latrell?


As Freddy Fittler allowed them to play. Giving Turbo his licence to roam and Latrell the freedom to play without fear.

Trbojevic bagged three tries, Latrell two.

Turbo ran for 168m, his centre partner 154m that included seven tackle busts as well as two linebreaks.

Last year Wayne Bennett got lucky not having to coach against either as the so-called worst Queensland team in history pulled off one of the great shock victories.

But unless something bad happens to either of these two footballing freaks in the next two weeks, Green is going to be having nightmares trying to close them down.


The Blues started so fast and Queensland just couldn't keep up with them, with fast play the balls giving NSW a tremendous advantage.

And on the back of that, the back five cut loose.

Latrell's first half was outstanding and Turbo equally as fantastic.

Latrell was up to 118m with five tackle busts and two linebreaks while Trbojevic only had 66m, but was absolutely everywhere.

Brian To'o had racked up a double by the break, but his work coming out of trouble was just as impressive.

He had eight first half runs for 99m, and every time he touched the ball he carried it back with great vigour, running as hard and aggressive as his little legs could carry him.

It was on one of those charges that a head clash with Christian Welch put the Queensland enforcer out of the game after just 12 minutes, which was a massive blow for the Maroons.


By the finish, To'o was up to 215m and James Tedesco next best with 181m.

Damien Cook had only had two runs in total but the first one was a ripper, cutting straight through on a 40m bust to create the chance for To'o's first try.

On the flip side, the Maroons had 51 per cent of first half possession but looked absolutely gassed, completing at 79 per cent to NSW's 89 per cent while making 167 tackles to the Blues' 148.

What made their job a hell of a lot tougher was losing Welch so early.

Payne Haas ran for the most metres in the forwards after starting off the bench, 138m, while Daniel Saifiti finished with 125m.

Originally published as One of league's great partnerships was born in Origin I

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