Queensland veteran Daly Cherry-Evans led his team to an emphatic win over the 12-man Blues and immediately handed the plaudits to coach Billy Slater for preparing them for the sensational start to Origin I.

Cherry-Evans’ night was capped with a stunning intercept, run and kick ahead that lead to a try late in the Maroons’ 38-10 win and he produced a trademark 40-20 as the Maroons started to wobble briefly in the second half.

He was awarded the man of the match award and praised by injured Maroons star Cameron Munster.

“That 40-20 was massive from him, really changed the game,” Munster said.

“He just keeps on delivering for Queensland. Our skipper, he leads by example and leads the way. He did tonight and the boys jumped on the back of it which was outstanding.”

The game was all but decided on the big moment in the seventh minute with Joseph Suaalii sent off for a high hit on Maroons star Reece Walsh.

Daly Cherry-Evans of the Maroons makes a break during game one of the 2024 Men's State of Origin Series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on June 05, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Daly Cherry-Evans of the Maroons makes a break . (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Slater had opted for Selwyn Cobbo on the bench and the move was deemed a “masterstroke”after he was piched in to replace a stricken Walsh.

“In Billy we trust. He put Selwyn on the bench and it was a masterstroke but to be fair we trained for it,” said Cherry-Evans.

“Not that we wanted something to go wrong but we just trained in case it did. So well done to Billy, the selectors and a really big pat on the back to the team for adjusting on the run.”

The skipper was asked if he expected a big result considering Queensland’s lead up.

“We did to be honest and to be fair that was a part of my final message before we ran out -just trust what we’ve done this week.

“We just really worked together all week. We were so determined to get this one and it’s paid off for us. Like I said, I’m just so proud at the moment.”

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