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5 days ago
It was a masterclass by Blues fullback James Tedesco and the superb control by old head James Maloney that was the backbone of the Blues success in a 22-12 win over Queensland in front of 87,122 rabid fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in tonight's series opener.
Queensland dominated field position to open the game, with their defence hard to penetrate. It was a Blues penalty after repeat sets on the Maroons line that saw Maloney kick a penalty goal to open scoring.
Just 2 minutes later, Kaufusi made a strong run and got a good ball away to an unmarked Chambers, who dropped it cold. NSW made them pay dearly when Cook exploded out of dummy half, pushed through some lazy defence, found Maloney, who then passed inside to Tedesco, who ran 30 metres to score under the sticks. Maloney converted.
As the Blues were pressing the Maroons line again, Maloney sent a long pass out the back which was brilliantly intercepted by Holmes, who ran 90 metres to score under the posts. Holmes converted his own try. The Blues lead 8-6 at the break.
Queensland struck first after the break when Hunt's grubber bounced perfectly for Gagai who scored in the corner. Holmes converted from touch to give the Maroons a 2 point lead.
Just over 2 minutes later, Tedesco again was involved with a great draw and pass off a quick step to Mitchell, who twisted in the tackle and planted the ball down for a good try. Maloney failed to convert.
Three minutes later, the Blues were in again, this time after a Maloney kick resulted in Tom Trbojevic stealing the ball mid-air out of Holmes' hands before twisting and falling over the line to score on the right wing. Maloney converted from out wide.
Tedesco again got involved ten minutes before time when he picked up the ball from dummy half and the scooted through the lazy middle defence before bouncing off a heavy clash and then passed miraculously to his outside support, with the ball eventually finding Addo Carr, who dived over to score in the corner. Maloney failed to convert. The Blues running out convincing winners 22-12.
Queensland have 18 days to turn it around when they head to Sydney for Game Two on Sunday 24 June.
Queensland 12 - New South Wales 22
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground
Halftime Score: Queensland 6 New South Wales 8
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - James Tedesco
2 points - Greg Inglis
1 points - James Maloney
Tries: Valentine Holmes, Dane Gagai
Conversions: Valentine Holmes (2/2)
NEW SOUTH WALES (22)
Tries: James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Addo-carr
Conversions: James Maloney (2/4)
Penalty Goals: James Maloney (1/1)