sad to leave: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow of the north Queensland cowboys announces his last season with the Queensland might he be done with the…….

Queensland speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was thrust into the fullback position and excelled after a brutal hit early in the State of Origin opener sidelined Reece Walsh.

The Cowboys’ dynamic player completed a hat-trick with under two minutes remaining on Wednesday night, exacerbating the Blues’ woes as the hosts suffered a 38-10 defeat at Accor Stadium.

Tabuai-Fidow shared with Nine that he had prepared to take over the fullback role if necessary, and Maroons coach Billy Slater’s plans worked perfectly.

“I did a couple of reps at fullback during the week,” Tabuai-Fidow told Allana Ferguson.

“In Origin, anything can happen. Luckily, we trained for it and I was ready.”

Slater moved him to fullback after Walsh was taken out of the game by a high tackle from Joseph Suaalii, who was subsequently sent off, leaving the Blues a man down for most of the match.

Tabuai-Fidow scored his first two tries within five minutes in the first half, capitalizing on Murray Taulagi’s inside passes as Queensland exploited NSW’s left edge.

Nicknamed “The Hammer,” he secured his third try by popping up on Tom Dearden’s inside and racing away to score in the 79th minute. The Maroons’ strategy to target the Blues’ right edge following Suaalii’s departure was evident.

The Blues managed a try in the 14th minute when former NSW captain James Tedesco pounced on a Jarome Luai grubber, and another just after halftime when Zac Lomax outjumped Selwyn Cobbo to catch a Nicho Hynes kick.

However, the Maroons dominated the match, with tries from Tabuai-Fidow (three), Ben Hunt (two), and Xavier Coates.

Tedesco, filling in at fullback due to Dylan Edwards’ quad injury, acknowledged the difficulty of playing with a man down.

“I thought we tried bloody hard,” Tedesco told Paul Gallen on the Nine broadcast.

“Our effort was definitely there for 80 minutes, but being down a man for so long takes its toll. We fought hard, but it wore us down by the end.”

NSW must win at the MCG on June 26 to force a series decider.

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