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In between the adoration, NSW must be wary of Origin's endless twists

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The dizzying highs and gut-wrenching lows of sport are always magnified over a compressed series or competition. Reputations are gained and lost in a heartbeat. Good performances become great performances and anything short of the top shelf leaves your neck exposed to the hovering axe.

Game breaker: James Maloney charges through the driving rain on his return to the Blues in Perth. Credit:AAP

In an Origin series, as in This Is Spinal Tap, that all seems to be turned up to 11, fanned by partisan state media packs that tend to become part of the overall story, not just measured observers. It's completely odd, enormous amounts of fun but for players and coaches, a genuine pressure-cooker environment with significant stakes on the table.

The narratives for this series have already been turned inside out and upside down in 160 minutes of rugby league. You need to keep a nightly diary to work out who is doing well in the Power Rankings in any particular news cycle.

Everyone has exceedingly short memories at this time of year so a quick recap may be in order.

Ahead of game one, the Queenslanders were pegged as outsiders on their home deck and little........

© The Age