MATCH REPORT: QLD Win State of Origin
The NSW VB Blues failed to fire in the third and deciding State of Origin clash as a red-hot Maroons outfit reclaimed the shield with a convincing 52-6 victory at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
VB Blues hooker Michael Ennis, a late replacement for the injured Robbie Farah, began the game strongly, forcing a Queensland error in their opening set.
The VB Blues consolidated their opening field position when Maroons debutant Dane Gagai spilt a pinpoint Mitchell Pearce kick, ultimately resulting in a penalty when prop Aaron Woods was illegally held down.
The VB Blues took the penalty from in front of the posts to open the scoring and make it 2-0 after five minutes.
However, their lead would be short-lived as the Maroons were handed a penalty in front of NSW’s sticks in identical fashion to level the scores.
The Maroons began to build momentum and when Queensland’s Matt Scott forced an error out of Will Hopoate, the home side went on the attack searching for their first four-pointer.
With luck on their side, the Maroons, through debutant Dane Gagai, were first to cross the line when a deflected pass bounced up for the winger to score in the corner.
Queensland were proving red-hot and soon had their second try when Johnathan Thurston sent Josh Papalii over from the close range.
Despite their best efforts to contain the Maroons, NSW conceded a penalty for dangerous contact on the kicker as the Maroons kicked to a 14-point lead courtesy of a Thurston penalty goal from in front.
It was all the Maroons in the opening 40 minutes as fullback Greg Inglis extended his side’s lead six minutes from half time after skipping on the outside of the defence to score in the corner.
Thurston’s golden boot took the Maroons beyond three converted tries as Queensland went into half time with a commanding 22-2 lead.
NSW needed a miracle second 40 minutes, but a drop ball with their second touch of the half gifted Queensland an early attacking set, and it didn’t take long for the home side to capitalise, scoring inside the opening two minutes with a piece of individual brilliance from Justin Hodges.
In his final Origin game, the centre saved the ball from rolling over the dead ball line before tapping the ball back for Matt Gillett to score inside the dead line.
Interchange utility Michael Morgan all-but-sealed victory when he ran off the inside shoulder of Aidan Guerra to muscle his way over the line for his first Origin try.
The score-line was quickly becoming unpleasant for the Blues and it only got worse when Darius Boyd crossed for yet another Queensland try.
Trailing 40-2, NSW finally had something to cheer about when Michael Jennings picked up the loose ball to run 60 metres against the run of play.
But that was all they would celebrate as the Maroons scored in the 68th minute through Will Chambers and then Guerra with two minutes remaining as the home side claimed the biggest winning margin in Origin history.