Post-match: Pressers were low key. The most interesting comment from Cameron Smith was that he thought Queensland were more in control of the match than they were in Origin I. Rival coaches Ricky Stuart and Mal Meninga each played down the extent to which Aquila Uate was dodgy under the high ball. Meninga said he wasn’t targeted. Stuart said talking about the referees would detract from the performance of his men. His best line was that he told his team they would learn from Ben Hannant’s try in the second half. He suggested the lesson taught by that touchdown helped them repel Queensland at the end. “We’ve shown everyone we can win an Origin game,” he said, “now we have to prove to ourselves we can win an Origin series.
Fulltime: NEW SOUTH WALES 16 QUEENSLAND 12: Tense, tense scenes as NSW hangs on to win by four. The biggest controversy in that final period was Michael Jennings knocking the ball out of Brent Tate’s hands in the in-goal area during a scramble. Should have been a line dropout by the Blues with Queensland on the attack. Instead, it was a 20 metre tap to NSW and a big release of pressure. “A Blue wall – that’s what we spoke about all week,” said hooker Robbie Farah.
64 min: Inglis touches down in the corner. As soon as he got the ball, you knew he wouldn’t be stopped. Thurston’s sideline conversion is flawless. Great finish in store. Corey Parker (cut leg) won’t be back, others struggling. Enthralling stuff. 16-12
48 min: What have you missed since halftime! A helluva lot! Cooper Cronk took out Todd Carney chasing a kick and was sent to the sin bin. I’d like to see penalty tries awarded in those situations. If you foul someone in that situation, it’s cynical in the extreme and I don’t see why the officials have to be convinced the victim would have scored. Punish it. Anyway, Brett Stewart scored from the restart after Carney’s penalty goal. That was 12-6. Then after a Johnathan Thurston strip, Josh Morris streaked away for another Blues touchdown. 16-6.
Halftime: QUEENSLAND 6 NEW SOUTH WALES 4. When Billy Slater fumbled seven or eight minutes out from halftime, NSW needed to add to their four points. They did not – and Queensland needed no further invitation to score. Cooper Cronk’s bomb right on halftime was allowed to bounce, Ben Hannant ended up with it and the prop lowered his centre of gravity to slide over between the posts. This hasn’t been a game that has lent itself to humorous asides and Sports Ears evesdropping like Origin I. It’s been intense, brutal and injury-strewn. The Maroons seem to be on the worst side of the casualty list and that could be telling. One more thing: great atmosphere, the sea of blue at the northern end has to be seen to be believed.
27 min: Brett Stewart forces his way over in the corner, Todd Carney misses the conversion attempt. While it’s being lined up, Ben Cummins says to Tony Archer: “there’s a thing down there where I think one of the Queensland players has stood on the calf”. 4-0.
25 min: Brent Tate, Billy Slater and Justin Hodges are all suffering from knocks. NSW’s defence so far has been brutal and they’ve now forced an error out of Queensland 31 metres from the Maroons’ line. 0-0.
19 min: Brent Tate has a leg injury but is battling on. Mitchell Pearce just pulled off a gargantuan shoulder charge on Matt Scott. 0-0.
13 min: What the hell was David Taylor doing? He flew over the loose ball when all he had to do was touch it down. Mind you, Brett Stewart grounded it anyway…. Player to ref: “Was it a knock-on or a grounding?” Ref: “Same thing”. Player: “It’s not the same thing!” 0-0.
10 mins: Level pegging so far, although Cooper Cronk’s early break was a little foreboding from a NSW point of view. How about Brent Tate’s hands? Great player…. 0-0.
Kick-off: Good evening everyone. That was one of the best pieces of pre-match entertainment involving canine talent I can recall at a State Of Origin game. So many people in blue – pretty awesome site actually. Ricky Stuart is watching from the sideline. 0-0
Final team lists:
NEW SOUTH WALES: Brett Stewart (Manly); Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta), Michael Jennings (Penrith), Josh Morris (Canterbury), Akuila Uate (Newcastle); Todd Carney (Cronulla), Mitchell Pearce (Sydney Roosters); Paul Gallen (capt, Cronulla), Greg Bird (Gold Coast), Glenn Stewart (Manly), James Tamou (North Queensland), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers), Tim Grant (Penrith).
Reserves: Trent Merrin (St George Illawarra), Luke Lewis (Penrith), Ben Creagh (St George Illawarra), Anthony Watmough (Manly).
QUEENSLAND: Billy Slater (Melbourne); Darius Boyd (Newcastle), Greg Inglis (South Sydney), Justin Hodges (Brisbane), Brent Tate (North Queensland); Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne); Ashley Harrison (Gold Coast), David Taylor (South Sydney). Nate Myles (Gold Coast), Petero Civoniceva (Brisbane), Cameron Smith (capt, Melbourne), Matthew Scott (North Queensland).
Reserves: Matt Gillett (Brisbane), Corey Parker (Brisbane), Ben Hannant (Brisbane), David Shillington (Canberra).
Referees: Ben Cummins/Tony Archer.