Tuesday 20 February 2018 / 03:02 AM


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 North Queensland’s John Doyle star showing off the bench in the 2001 series opener.

Cowboys hooker Doyle was arguably the least heralded of Queensland’s 10 debutants for Game 1, but had a monumental impact in the stunning 34-16 upset.

Selected in the No.9, Doyle started on the bench, but ripped up the NSW defence after entering the fray in the second half. He made a brilliant break out of dummy-half and linked with Darren Lockyer, before backing up the fullback to score the opening try of the second stanza.

Doyle was at it again four minutes later, throwing an audacious dummy to again slice through from acting half and set up club-mate John Buttigieg for a try. He capped a dazzling attacking display by starting another long-range movement which led to Chris Walker’s four-pointer. Doyle featured in the ’01 decider triumph, but was dropped after the Maroons’ heavy defeat in the following season’s series opener.

[YouTube – Brent Kriel]

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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