A FAIR chunk of the build-up to Origin I centred around Queensland losing superstar playmaker Johnathan Thurston.
But in hindsight, there was another experienced figure the Maroons missed even more.
That man was Matt Scott.
The North Queensland front-rower made his Origin debut back in 2006, but had been a Maroons mainstay since 2009. That was until an ACL rupture in round two this year ruled him out for the remainder of the season.
On Wednesday night, the game was clearly won in the middle of the park, with the Blues' big boppers running amok.
Scott's absence meant Dylan Napa was blooded, while the likes of Nate Myles, Sam Thaiday and Jacob Lillyman needed to pick up the slack. They struggled.
The Blues' forwards dominated their Queensland counterparts, with Andrew Fifita, David Klemmer, Aaron Woods and Boyd Cordner making well over 100 metres - Klemmer topping the column with 194 off the bench.
Rookie Queenslander Napa tried hard, as did Josh McGuire and Josh Papalii, but they were simply outclassed by the rampaging Blues.
Queensland has been staunchly loyal to its side over the past decade, but that selection policy evidently backfired in the first game.
Myles, Thaiday, Lillyman and Aidan Guerra, who have all been part of successful Origin campaigns, battled big time and were found out multiple times as the Blues punched holes in their maroon wall which crumbled around them.
So out of the smouldering rubble, calls have already started for Walters to swing the axe.
But who does he bring in?
Jarrod Wallace has been kicking the door down and was rewarded with an 18th man jumper for the game.
Young North Queensland powerhouse Coen Hess is also looking like a genuine option after starring for the Cowboys in the opening rounds of the season.
Korbin Sims is another willing forward in the same fiery mould as Napa.
Beyond those options, there's not much else, which is another cause for concern.
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