America amazed by rugby league brutality in Origin I

Australia’s love affair with the NFL deepened when Jarryd Hayne’s American adventure began and his short stint in San Francisco also introduced rugby league to a new legion of fans.

Some of those fresh NRL lovers living Stateside were glued to the TV in the early hours of the morning on the other side of the world to watch the Blues pulverise a hapless Maroons outfit in the opening match of this year’s State of Origin series.

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NSW cruised to a historic 50-6 victory in Townsville as the home side wilted in the face of an onslaught by a Blues backline in rare form.

Can Inman, an NFL beat writer covering the San Francisco 49ers, followed Hayne’s progress in the US and was excited to set his alarm so he could catch all the action from his new favourite sport.

“No wonder I woke up 3am Cali time. Time to stream some Origin!” Inman tweeted from America’s west coast during the game.

“Watching #Origin and #NSW take early lead, makes waking up at 3am worthwhile.

“Always amazed by physicality and brute force of no-pads/helmets in Australian rugby league (while #49ers going down left and right at offseason practices).

“Learning about Rugby League and meeting so many great Aussie media colleagues were best things to come out of the 49ers’ Jarryd Hayne project.”

Nathan Cleary was more red than sky blue.Source:Getty Images

Inman made special mention of Queensland fullback Valentine Holmes, who tried to make it in the NFL with the New York Jets before returning to rugby league, and was also a fan of the cameras in each team’s changeroom to give viewers intimate access in one of the biggest games of the year.

“I spy former #NYJets practice squad RB Valentine Holmes in this #Origin action,” Inman wrote.

“NFL gonna adopt these halftime locker room spycams and player interviews some day.”

Inman wasn’t the only cross-code expert to take an interest in NSW’s demolition job. The sight of blood streaming from a cut on Blues halfback Nathan Cleary’s cheek after an accidental elbow from teammate Tom Trbojevic had AFL legend Warren Tredrea questioning the brutality of the marquee clash.

“Is there a blood rule?” he tweeted in response to a picture of Cleary’s battered face.

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Port Adelaide star Tom Rockliff also weighed in on the officiating. The NRL recently introduced a crackdown on high tackles and told everyone Origin would fall under the same rules, which led to fears players could be sin-binned or sent off for any contact to the head.

Queensland winger Kyle Feldt was fortunate to only be put on report for a high tackle on Cameron Murray, and many on social media said there was no doubt the interstate clash was being policed a little more loosely than regular season games.

Rockliff agreed, but had no issue with it, and suggested the crackdown would be back in full swing for club games this weekend.

“Game was definitely ruled differently tonight. But it was ruled very well tonight,” the AFL player tweeted. “The best ref for the best game.

“Human error comes in every form, problem is you can’t have the best ref for every game. You can’t have the best players for every game. Mistakes happen in life.

“Interpretation is the biggest difficulty for most Australian sports lovers.

“Agree they let much more go in Origin which is why everyone loves it so much. I am with you, reckon there will be heaps more penalties and send offs during this round.

“Hopefully the over correction is finished and back to normal.”

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