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Dearden delivers on Origin debut

Queensland five-eighth Tom Dearden made his State of Origin debut on Wednesday, looking every bit a veteran at this level as he admirably filled in for the mercurial Cameron Munster.

Dearden, bahis yazilim 21, was thrust into the Maroons’ No.6 role when Munster contracted COVID-19 last week.

Right up until Queensland coach Billy Slater named his final team there was speculation the youngster, who is only 49 games into his NRL career, would be eased into the game at Suncorp Stadium from the bench.

Instead, Slater threw Dearden in at the deep end and the North Queensland playmaker thrived, putting in a performance that was beyond his tender years.

He set up Valentine Holmes’ opening try in a play straight out of the Cowboys’ handbook, took on the NSW line at will and was leading every kick chase in Queensland’s series-clinching 22-12 win.

Dearden sought the advice of Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans after Munster was ruled out and thanked the Maroons halfback for his words of encouragement.

“He’s a true Queenslander and he’s one of the greats to wear that No.7 jersey, even considering the players that have played there before him,” Dearden said.

“(There was a) lot of pressure and he did an unreal job. It was a privilege to play beside him.

“He never spoke about what we’d lost, he kept speaking about what we’ve got out there and it kept us on the job.”

Dearden has enjoyed an impressive renaissance over the past 12 months after being released to the Cowboys following the dark days of Anthony Seibold’s reign at Brisbane.

“It’s really difficult for a young kid to go through that,” said Queensland hooker Ben Hunt, after it appeared Dearden’s cards were marked.

“To change clubs and everyone coming at you and putting you down.

“It’s a credit to him and his family of the type of guy he is to turn his career around.”

Dearden conceded he hasn’t enjoyed the most straightforward of starts to NRL life but the novelty of playing at that level ensured his motivation never diminished.

“When you’re a kid playing NRL is my dream come true so I just kept telling myself ‘how good is this, I’m playing NRL’,” he said.

“It was a tough start but you stick at it and that’s all it takes, it’ll turn around for you.”

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