Jarrod Wallace, Coen Hess, Valentine Holmes and Tim Glasby are set to make their State of Origin debuts for Queensland in Sydney next Wednesday, while Jake Trbojevic and Nathan Peats could hardly have been more impressive in their first outings for NSW in Game 1.
Commentary Box Sports is counting down the finest debut appearances in State of Origin’s 38 seasons, and next up we have the great Eric Grothe’s two-try performance from the standalone clash in 1981.
The rampaging Parramatta winger was still relatively new to first grade when he was called into the Blues’ side as a 21-year-old, but he repaid the selectors’ faith with two tries – including an extraordinary 90-metre runaway as NSW built a 15-0 lead.
Incredibly, Queensland eroded the deficit to run out 22-15 winners, with Chris Close’s infamous back-hander on Grothe a pivotal moment.
Grothe mowed down runaway Queensland fullback Colin Scott and executed a brilliant try-saving tackle in the second half, before Maroons centre Close whacked Grothe and dived over from dummy-half.