Queensland win Origin thriller
The departing Darren Lockyer inspired Queensland to a blistering victory over New South Wales in the Origin decider this morning.
For 35 minutes of the first half, Queensland completely dominated in possession and territory, forcing New South Wales into making 6 drop-outs and some heroic tackling by Paul Gallen and his battered pack.
The deadlock was broken after 15 minutes as Greg Inglis pounced on a probing kick from Jonathon Thurston and expertly grounded the ball just inside the corner flag, and Thurston goaled from the touchline for a 6-0 lead.
The Maroons continued to dominate and ten minutes later a sublime pass from Darren Lockyer – on his 36th and final appearance – put Sam Thaiday through for the second origin try of his career and a 12-0 lead.
By now Lockyer had found his groove and his 50 meter break put the Maroons in an attacking position, and Cameron Smith duly obliged by powering over from dummy half on the last tackle, and just three minutes later Queensland looked home and dry with a 24 point lead after Jiral Yow Yeh pounced on a loose ball which Antony Minichello allowed to bounce off his knees.
With just three minutes of the half remaining, New South Wales finally sparked into life and grabbed two quickfire tries to give themselves hope going into the break. First Minichello reacted quickest to some chaos in the Queensland ranks and just 60 seconds later Akuila Uate finished off a great passing movement to reduce the Maroons lead to 14 at the break.
With New South Wales‘ new-found enthusiasm, the second half started with both teams on a more level playing field, and remained close as neither team wanted to concede further points. However, a serious knee injury to Thurston on the hour mark seemed to spur the Maroons on and two tries in ten minutes – the first came from Billy Slater who crashed on to an excellent reverse pass from Thaiday, and Inglis’ second try of the night – sealed the crucial win, and with it a record-breaking sixth consecutive Origin series victory for Queensland.
To their credit New South Wales never gave up, and there was still time in the remaining minutes for Hayne to score a rare 8-point try after being fouled after the act of scoring, and for the immense Greg Bird to get late consolation tries.
52,472 wildly celebrating Queenslanders were packed into Suncorp Staium to witness another magnificent game played out by two quality teams, and ultimately Darren Lockyer proved to be the difference once again, as the Queensland legend brought the curtain down on a glittering 36 game Origin career, with a record-breaking fairytale ending.
Queensland Tries: Inglis (15, 69), Thaiday (26), Smith (29), Yow Yeh (33), Slater (65).
Conversions: Thurston (4/4), Lockyer (1/2).
New South Wales: Minichello (37), Uate (40), Hayne (71), Bird (78)
Conversions: Soward (4/5)
Man of the Match: Darren Lockyer (Queensland) Greg Bird (New South Wales)