"That is as quick a footy match as I have ever played in. That first half was ridiculous'
Two of Queensland's best in Wednesday night's 28-4 loss to the NSW Blues have described the first half of football as the quickest they have been involved in.
Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers can hold their heads high after the Maroons' loss, with Cronk's pinpoint kicking game keeping Queensland in the game during the first 40 minutes of play, and Chambers' 184m and nine tackle busts arguably the best 80-minute performance in Kevin Walters' side.
With both being so heavily involved in the first half, it is no surprise they felt it the most, and for good reason.
The first 40 minutes saw end-to-end football, as each side enjoyed 50 per cent of possession in a match that had a frenetic pace.
NSW were perfect in their completions, completing 18 of 18 sets in a start to the match that saw them lead 12-4 at half-time, scoring on the buzzer to have a healthy eight-point lead at the break.
But Queensland were very good themselves, going at a 95 per cent completion rate as they completed 18/19 sets.
It meant very little stoppage time in the first half, with both sides struggling to keep up with the brand of football being played.
Forwards were on their haunches and outside backs were forced to come in and take runs up the middle as the bigger bodies struggled to get onside.
Toughest, says Cronk
Cronk has been in the NRL since 2004, but even he said it was the hardest start to a game that he has ever experienced.
"I think I can say that the first half was probably the toughest brand of football I've been part of in my career," Cronk said.
"It was relentless and it was tough. They completed every set and we only turned over one.
‘We had our backs against the wall’
"The completion rate is why I had great confidence in the first half. The intensity and the effort was there. We got back into the game and got it to 6-4 after trailing early.
"We had our backs against the wall and were coming off our own line for the majority of (the half).
"To get back (on the scoreboard) and give ourselves a chance gave us some real confidence.
"You need to be tested because that's what (Origin is) about."
Chambers steps up
One man that was certainly tested was Chambers, with the Melbourne Storm centre putting himself in the firing line time and time again to help his side get out of their own end.
The majority of his 23 runs came in the first 40 minutes from deep within his own half and he said after the match that this period of play really hit him hard.
"That is as quick a footy match as I have ever played in. That first half was ridiculous," Chambers said.
"That's what it is. That's why these games are for the best of the best.
"They took their moments and were clinical. When the big moment was there they executed.
"We need to regroup and be ready to go to Sydney in a few weeks. We have another game to play."