Blues stumble as Maroons claim Game One win

The Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues produced a fighting comeback in the dying stages of the second half but it was the Queensland Maroons who prevailed with an enthralling 18-14 victory in Game One at Suncorp Stadium. 

NSW took an 8-0 lead into the break after a lone Josh Morris try in the first-half but a spirited Queensland fightback in the second stanza proved decisive. 

Two tries to Dane Gagai and another to Corey Oates gave the Maroons an 18-8 lead with just under 10 minutes remaining, and although Jake Trbojevic crossed as the full-time siren neared the Blues' efforts were to no avail. 

The opening 40 minutes was filled with countless match-defining moments, most notably two try-saving tackles from NSW – the first coming from a desperate Josh Addo-Carr on Dane Gagai before he helped Tedesco pull down Will Chambers just centimetres before the goal line.

If that wasn't enough to bring Suncorp Stadium alight, the Maroons were denied two tries in the opening half – the first when Corey Oates stepped in to touch in the 16th minute, before Dylan Napa knocked-on over the line.

Morris made a welcome return to the Origin arena with the opening try of the contest in the 20th minute, while debutants Payne Haas and Cameron Murray provided impact off the interchange bench throughout the first 40.

The opening exchanges were fuelled with countless momentum shifts as Cook and Tedesco combined with potent carries around the ruck - although it would quickly change to Queensland's favour when Tedesco couldn't chase down a Cleary grubber into the in-goal.  

Although dominating the brutally-absorbing affair, a penalty adjacent to the uprights gifted Nathan Cleary, and the Blues, an easy two points after 12 minutes. 

The Maroons went close to scoring when Chambers broke the line on the right-edge, although a try-saving tackle from Addo-Carr on Chambers would culminate into a significant match turner.

Corey Oates looked to have the opening try on the other side of the field following a quick right-to-left shift but stepped into touch en route to the try-line. 

They would be made to rue the missed opportunity when NSW found the breakthrough – Tedesco skipping to the outside to create a three-on-two before a producing a deft pass to Morris for the veteran's sixth Origin try. 

Cleary nailed the sideline conversion to take an 8-0 lead after 20 minutes. 

It seemed as though Napa had then grabbed his first Origin try after he pounced on a grubber that ricocheted off the goal-post, but was denied by the video referee as he failed to ground the ball.  

Cameron Munster seemed to have sparked his side with a scintillating break through the Blues defence before finding a supporting Chambers, only for Tedesco and Addo-Carr to combine for another try-saving tackle – much alike their effort on Kalyn Ponga in Game II of the 2018 series. 

Neither side could do further damage to the scoreboard as NSW held onto their 8-0 lead at half-time.   

It would take until the 53rd minute for the Maroons to find a breakthrough, with Oates making amends for his earlier blunder with an athletic finish in the left-hand corner thanks to a Kalyn Ponga cut-out pass. 

Another match-defining moment followed when Latrell Mitchell was sin-binned for a professional foul on Matt Gillett in pursuit of a Munster grubber, 

NSW were fighting desperately in defence with a player short but had a golden chance for an unlikely try, only for Gagai to snatch a 90m intercept to put Queensland into the lead. 

Gagai prevailed once again with a flying finish in the 72nd minute off the back of another Ponga cut-out pass, with the Maroons fullback also nailing the sideline conversion to give his side a 10-point advantage. 

Trbojevic's try in the 76th minute would prove only as a consolation as the Maroons claimed victory in the opening game of the 2019 State of Origin series.