Maroons too good for Blues

QUEENSLAND has landed the first blow in the 2009 State of Origin series, running out 28 - 18 winners over a resilient New South Wales Blues side in front of 50,967 fans at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium.

After a first-half that went almost all Queensland's way, the Blues showed plenty of fight to come within six points, but late errors from NSW and a Darius Boyd try on the siren sealed the match.

NSW got off to a good start with an early penalty goal and a break-away run by Jared Hayne which, some might say, was unlucky not to result in a try after being reviewed by the video referee.

It didn't take long for the Maroons to counter though, with Billy Slater showing his trademark flair and timing to dive on an in-goal kick from Cameron Smith.

The Queensland attack then exploded into action, running in two more tries in five minutes to establish an 18- 2 lead.

The young NSW team seemed stunned and were unable to make headway into Queensland's half, while Queensland continued to apply pressure to the Blues line.

It wasn't until some more tip-toeing brilliance and a lucky blind pass from Jared Hayne and picked up by Ben Craig, that NSW were able to score their first four-pointer.

After the half-time break the Maroons took just two minutes to add to the scoreboard. An outstanding offload by Nate Myles and cut-out pass from Jonathan Thurston saw Greg Inglis sprint 75m up the side-line to score another sensational try.

Queensland were looking comfortable with a 24 - 6 lead with less than a quarter of the match to go, however things weren't finished there. The injection of Craig Wing off the bench for NSW had immediate effects when he latched onto a wonky pass from Luke Lewis to score under the posts.

NSW then continued to attack, getting to within one converted try of the Maroons and looking like an unlikely upset could be on the cards.

But errors at crucial moments cost NSW, allowing the experienced heads of the Qld team to take control of the match and steer the side to victory.

Man of the Match Jonathan Thurston played a near flawless game, creating many of the opportunities that allowed Queensland's superstar back-line to find holes in the NSW defence.

His kicking was also top notch, and without which the score line would likely have been a lot tighter.

Queensland skipper Darren Lockyer was pleased with the win, but it was perhaps a little too close for comfort.

"At 24-6 we just needed the next points and we were home." Lockyer said.

"But unfortunately we didn't get them and they scored a couple of tries and made things pretty difficult for us.

"We just couldn't put them away.

"In the second half there a couple of deflections didn't go our way and put them back in the game and in the end we hung on."

NSW captain Kurt Gidley, who's late errors all but took the game out of the Blues hands, was gallant but visually disappointed by the defeat.

"Bit embarrassed," said Gidley.

"Unfortunately there was a couple of errors from myself which is a little disappointing.

"I think we showed a lot of passion in the second half to come back the way we did and there was plenty of positive signs there."

The only negative for Queensland was the loss of centre Justin Hodges to a medial ligament injury in his right knee in the first half.

Queensland will now head to Sydney's ANZ Stadium on June 24 for the chance to secure the first-ever fourth consecutive series title in 30 years of State of Origin rugby league.


First half

  • 05min NSW has landed the first blow after Queensland conceded a penalty right in front of their own posts, which Kurt Gidley had little problem converting.
  • 07min Jared Hayne has been denied scoring the first try for NSW after a video referee decision ruled his boot touched the sideline by the slimmest of margins.
  • 10min The Maroons have quickly hit back with Billy Slater making a freakish dive for a short grubber-kick by Cameron Smith to score the first try for Queensland. Converted by Thurston.
  • 15min Qld has scored again after launching a left-side play which found a charging Greg Inglis, who wrestled with three Blues players to get the ball down. Converted by Thurston.
  • 19min Qld are on a hot streak with Jonathan Thurston diving on an Israel Folau kick from the wing to score their third tryin less than 10 minutes. Converted by Thurston.
  • 21min Justin Hodges has been taken from the field with a suspected knee injury.
  • 33min NSW have struck back after a lucky bounce and a blind pass from Jared Hayne provided a perfect opportunity for Ben Craig.
  • 38min Qld's Jonathan Thurston takes a pot shot field-goal attempt and misses.

Second half

  • 42min Queensland has wasted no time after the break with Greg Inglis making a 75m dash down the right wing to score. Converted by Thurston.
  • 51min Craig Wing has made an immediate impact from the NSW bench, scoring a try right under the posts. Converted by Kurt Gidley.
  • 68min Jared Hayne has snatched up a deflected Qld kick to score under the posts for NSW. Converted by Kurt Gidley.
  • 73min Darren Lockyer takes a field-goal attempt and misses.
  • 80min Darius Boyd has sealed victory for the Maroons, scoring in the blind-side corner.

What did you think of the game?

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