Trbojevic bags treble as rampant Blues hammer Maroons
Tom Trbojevic marked his State of Origin recall with a hat-trick as New South Wales Blues set up a series decider with a 38-6 rout of sorry Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium.
Trbojevic came into the Blues side as one of seven changes made by Brad Fittler and grasped his opportunity in the first Origin match to be staged in Western Australia.
The makeshift centre crossed twice in the first half and Tyson Frizell also dotted down after the Maroons were awarded a somewhat contentious penalty try.
Queensland were outclassed in the driving Perth rain after winning the opener 18-14, Trbojevic becoming the first Blues player since Matt King in 2005 to bag a treble as the holders turned on the style.
Nathan Cleary's ankle injury forced Fittler into a reshuffle at the break, but the Blues continued to run riot with Wade Graham coming on at five-eighth and James Maloney, also recalled, switching to half-back.
The influential Maloney slotted over two penalties and Josh Addo-Carr grabbed a double in a dominant series-levelling display, with a decisive showdown to come in Sydney on July 10.
Trbojevic was held up over the line in a bright start from the Blues, but he leaped high above Kalyn Ponga to claim a towering kick from Maloney and touch down seven minutes in.
The Maroons hit back after Cleary added the extras, although there were a few raised eyebrows when a penalty try was awarded for Jack Wighton obstructing Will Chambers with doubts over whether he would have got to the ball before it trickled out of play.
New South Wales did not dwell on that decision and Frizell - an injury concern after hurting his neck on the morning of the game - crashed over midway through the first half in driving rain.
Captain Boyd Cordner returned after passing a head injury assessment and Addo-Carr had a try ruled out before Trbojevic bagged his second following a great run from James Tedesco.
The Blues carried on where they left off after the break despite losing Cleary, Maloney making it 22-6 with two strikes from the tee before the rapid Tedesco handed Trbojevic a treble with a sublime offload.
Addo-Carr also played a big hand in that third Trbojevic score with an incisive run and he had a four-pointer of his own after getting on the end of a clever Graham grubber kick, then rounded off another flowing move to rub salt into the wounds seven minutes from time.