NSW Claim Origin Series With Historic Victory
The Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues have won the 2018 Holden State of Origin Series after a defiant 18-14 victory over the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium.
The Maroons raced out to an early 10-0 lead with tries to Valentine Holmes and Dane Gagai, but NSW h responded with two tries of their own, including a penalty try to captain Boyd Cordner which gave them a 12-10 lead at half-time.
A try to Latrell Mitchell in the early stages of the second-half gave NSW an eight-point buffer, before the Maroons crossed through Will Chambers to reduce the deficit to just four points.
When James Roberts was sent to the sin-bin for an infringement in the lead-up to a possible try to the Maroons, some brilliant defence from NSW prevented any chance of a token Queensland comeback.
In just the fifth minute of play, a Gordon Tallis like effort from Latrell Mitchell was penalised after Dane Gagai was ruled to be held before his attempts to drag him into touch, and the South Sydney star looked to have scored on the ensuing set only for his foot to have stepped out of play.
Although denied by the desperate defence of Josh Addo-Carr just moments earlier, the Maroons took advantage on the other side of the field with some quick hands from Greg Inglis sending an unmarked Valentine Holmes over.
Holmes was unable to convert his own try as the Maroons held a slight 4-0 advantage after 15 minutes.
Gagai eventually got his second try of the Series when he finished off a classy backline shift after getting on the outside of Addo-Carr, with Holmes converting out-wide to take a comfortable 10-0 lead.
NSW's resilience was rewarded when James Maloney fired a bullet-like pass to Addo-Carr, with some nifty footwork evading the scrambling Maroons defence to crash over in the left-hand corner.
A carbon-copy effort on Gagai from Mitchell gave NSW a golden opportunity to snatch the lead, with Cordner being awarded a penalty try after he was obstructed by Ben Hunt when he chased after a pin-point James Maloney grubber.
Maloney converted from in-front as NSW took a 12-10 into half-time.
NSW got off to a flying start in the second-half after Mitchell stormed onto a James Tedesco short-ball to barge his away over Will Chambers in the corner, with Maloney nailing the sideline conversion to extend their lead to eight points after 50 minutes.
The Maroons dominated possession in the following exchanges with a host of threatening attacking raids, and despite the best efforts of NSW to hold them out with some committed goal-line defence, they capitalised through Chambers who crossed for a crucial try.
Holmes missed the conversion as NSW held onto an 18-14 lead with just under 20 minutes remaining.
A try loomed when Kalyn Ponga made a break and headed for the right-hand corner, and although caught just five metres out, Queensland threatened on the next play with a grubber from Hunt before Gavin Cooper being interfered with by James Roberts who was then sent to the sin-bin.
Some valiant defensive efforts from NSW kept Queensland out in the period following, with a remarkable cover tackle from Nathan Cleary on Holmes preventing a possible Maroons try.
Some last-gasp efforts from the Maroons were to no avail, as NSW recorded a historic Series victory and the dawn of a new era for Brad Fittler's men.