Taking The Two
It didn’t seem like a moment that mattered at the time, but a 15th minute penalty goal to Johnathan Thurston ultimately proved to be the difference in the 6-4 scoreline. Paul Gallen was penalised for a high shot, before James Maloney held down Matt Gillett for too long on his own line, forcing the referee to blow his whistle. Thurston had no trouble slotting the kick, and the only scoring plays afterwards were one unconverted try each.
Farah’s Classy Touch
Robbie Farah forcing a dropout for the VB Blues in the first half was not an individual moment that mattered, but a final play that completed a string of repeat sets that eventually led to a try. Matt Moylan forced a dropout with a perfectly weighted grubber, before a nice cross-field kick from Adam Reynolds forced an error and therefore a repeat set. Farah’s kick from dummy half into the in-goal area completed the trifecta of kicks, and the pressure eventually proved too much for Queensland, and their defensive line was cracked shortly afterwards by Boyd Cordner.
Rugby League can be a cruel game. The VB Blues were in complete control after Queensland scored that penalty goal, and it seemed they would go into half-time holding a small but important 4-2 lead. The pure class of Queensland, as it has many times before, kicked in when it mattered most, with some incredibly slick and quick down the right edge, forcing a rare overlap, allowing Dane Gagai to cross the line with ease. It proved to be the match-winning try.
In a beaten side, James Maloney fought hard for the entire night. He set up an early try, and was constantly involved, even as a support player at times. No play in the second half was more important than his try-saving tackle on Dane Gagai who looked destined to score. Gagai seemingly had an open-run to the try line, and despite the eventual result, another try would have sealed the game then and there. Maloney came out of nowhere in cover to drag him towards the sideline, and with some help from Cordner, eventually forced a change of possession by bundling the would-be try-scorer to the sideline.
Josh Morris scores the match-winning try after being cut from the squad and eventually brought back in, that would have been one of the great Origin stories. It seemed likely when the referee consulted his touch judge and sent the decision up as a try, and it felt like an eternity before a decision was made. Finally, the moment came that sunk the hearts of the NSW crowd, conclusive evidence to show that Morris did not score the try, and the VB Blues did not get another real try-scoring opportunity. Was the evidence actually conclusive?