MATCH REPORT: Origin I
The NSW VB Blues have gone down to Queensland in a nail-biting 6-4 grind that saw no points scored in the second half.
Chief playmakers Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith were excellent for the Maroons, while Cronulla Sharks duo Paul Gallen and James Maloney fought extremely hard for the VB Blues, and Boyd Cordner justified his selection with a barnstorming performance.
A late try to Dane Gagai in the dying minutes of the opening stanza stole the lead from the VB Blues after their newly found spine combined for five repeat sets and a try assist throughout the match.
Queensland dominated the early stages of the game through field position and possession, and after a tackle that was ruled high from Gallen and a Maloney ruck penalty, they opted to take the two points and Thurston made no mistake.
The momentum began to swing back to the VB Blues through repeat sets thanks to smart kicks from Matt Moylan, Adam Reynolds and Robbie Farah, before Maloney took on the Queensland line, drew the defenders and gifted a short ball for Cordner to crash over for his first Origin try.
With less than five minutes remaining in the half, some slick movement through the Maroons’ hands resulted in a classy Gagai try, which was the final scoring play of the half, and eventually the match.
The VB Blues were put under immediate defensive pressure in the opening minutes of the second half, but an inspirational cover tackle by Maloney chopped down a rampaging Gagai to save a try with the help of Cordner to bundle him into touch and regain possession.
Consecutive repeat sets from Queensland led to nothing thanks to a blue wall of defence, before Josh Morris went incredibly close for the VB Blues, being ruled short by the video referee.
Try-scoring opportunities were scarce throughout the remainder of the match, a game that saw some tough match-ups in the middle of the field.
The VB Blues will travel to Suncorp Stadium for a do-or-die clash in three weeks.
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