#ORIGIN | Rick's weekly column looks at whether the dead rubber's worth the hassle - and if it is, w...
104 mins ago
Fulltime score: State of Origin III QUEENSLAND MAROONS 10 v NEW SOUTH WALES BLUES 32
After weathering an early onslaught from the Queenslanders, the Blues responded with three first half tries and at half time, held a commanding 18-0 lead.
NSW went further ahead in the second half with three more tries, including a four-pointer to winger Matt King who posted his hat trick in the 65th minute.
At 32-0 down, the Maroons finally gave the large Brisbane crowd something to cheer about when they scored two tries in the dying minutes of the match.
Scorers: QUEENSLAND MAROONS 10 Tries: Thurston, Bowen Goals: Smith 1/2 NEW SOUTH WALES BLUES 32 Tries: King 3, Anasta, Gasnier, Tahu Goals: Fitzgibbon 1/2, Johns 3/5
Suncorp Stadium Crowd: 52,436 Referee: Paul Simpkins Half time: NSW 18-0
Live commentary: 0 min: A huge crowd of over 52,000 on hand at old Lang Park.
3 min: NEWS - Unbelievable pressure on NSW as QLD gets repeat sets at the Blues line in the early stages.
6 min: NEWS - Sensational defence from NSW, holding out QLD for seven sets. NSW full back Anthony Minnichiello then breaks them open and runs 80m before being pulled down courtesy of a beaut covering tackle from his opposite Matt Bowen. QLD shot to bits. NSW get a penalty and now QLD have to soak up the pressure.
9 min: PENALTY GOAL - NSW. Craig Fitzgibbon makes no mistake from almost in front after QLD concede a second penalty. NSW 2-0
15 min: NEWS - NSW still under pressure and QLD have to wonder when they'll crack the Blues line.
16 min: NEWS - early interchanges happening for NSW as their forwards are looking spent. Bailey on for Ryles.
20 min: TRY - NSW. Braith Anasta crashes over 15m wide of the posts. Follows some lead up from Anasta and Nathan Hindmarsh and then Andrew Johns sets up the final pass from close range. Against the run of play and big boost for the Blues. Conversion from Johns is OK. NSW 8-0
27 min: TRY - NSW. Mark Gasnier scores 10m wide of the posts after he flys up to catch an Andrew Johns kick, the taller Gasnier getting over the top of Shaun Berrigan. Conversion Johns. NSW 14-0
29 min: BIFF - A bit of a dust up after NSW back rower Ben Kennedy goes down following a head high from QLD forward Michael Crocker. Crocker is placed on report.
31 min: TRY - NSW. Winger Matt King scores 8m in from touch after receiving a pass from Johns who sees the overlap. Conversion attempt from Johns goes wide. NSW 18-0
35 min: NEWS - NSW come close to scoring again when Gasnier gathers up a loose ball and touches down. The play is called back for a knock-on when King is attempting to bat the ball back following a Johns' cross-field kick. It's all NSW... a complete turnaround from the early stages of the match.
Half time: NSW 18-0 An extraordinary half of football with the hunted New South Welshman turning into the hunters. With NSW coming back from a torrid opening 15 minutes, it was no place for the faint hearted with some big defence happening up front. NSW are targetting QLD five eighth Darren Lockyer with the big men running at him. For QLD, Danny Nutley looks to be their hardest working forward while Matt Bowen is chancing his hand from the back. For NSW, Steve Simpson is one of the stand outs in a pack which has worked up a storm. Andrew Johns is calling the shots from half back and if QLD are a chance, they have to shut him down. At this stage, its hard to see anything but a Blues victory in this deciding Origin match. But you can't write off Maroons; they have talent to burn and a couple of quick tries will see them back in the hunt.
Second half underway...
47 min: TRY - NSW. Matt King gets a double, scoring under the posts. On the last tackle, the defence rushed up on Johns who was expected to kick, but instead he ran the ball and found King in support. Follows Berrigan being thrown into touch by King to give NSW possession. Conversion Johns. NSW 24-0
53 min: TRY - NSW. Winger Timana Tahu scores in the corner after Matt Bowen is unable to handle the ball mid-field just inside the QLD half. NSW pick up the dregs and have plenty of players in support, Tahu taking the last pass. This scoreline could blow out to anything now. Conversion unsuccessful from Johns. NSW 28-0
65 min: TRY - NSW Matt King gets a hat trick, scoring in the corner courtesy of an overlap. Sideline conversion attempt from Fitzgibbon is unsuccessful. NSW 32-0
67 min: NEWS - With the job done, Andrew Johns comes off and Craig Gower will most likely move to half back.
74 min: TRY - QLD. Johnathan Thurston scores after Matt Sing makes a big break on his own side of half way. A great 70m effort but really only a consolation try. Cameron Smith converts from almost in front. NSW 32-6
76 min: BIFF - QLD forward Ben Ross taking exception to being roughed up in the tackle. QLD get the penalty.
77 min: TRY - QLD. Matt Bowen takes a Lockyer pass and runs at the line, sliding in and scoring in the corner. Smith conversion attempt is unsuccessful. NSW 32-10
Full time: NSW 32-10 NSW have won the 2005 State of Origin series, coming back from 1-0 down. The Brisbane crowd are stunned by the scoreline but the Queensanders were simply outplayed by a bigger, smarter, and fitter Blues outfit. Queensland's best tonight included forward Danny Nutley who was playing in his first Origin match, working hard in defence and continually carting the ball up. NSW had a gallery of stars. Andrew Johns will get a few wraps and Minichiello is another favourite in the backs, but its clear the foundation to victory was laid from up front on the back of a tremendous defensive effort. Skipper and hooker Danny Buderus led a fine pack with prop Luke Bailey being a stand out in a champion side. Other standouts in the forwards include Ben Kennedy, Nathan Hindmarsh and Jason Ryles who all did an enormous amount of work as did five eighth Braith Anasta.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - L Bailey (NSW) 2 - B Anasta (NSW) 1 - B Kennedy (NSW)
TEAMS: QUEENSLAND Matthew Bowen, Ty Williams, Shaun Berrigan, Paul Bowman, Matt Sing, Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston, Petero Civoniceva, Cameron Smith, Danny Nutley, Michael Crocker, Brad Thorn, Chris Flannery. Interchange: Ben Ross, Ashley Harrison, Corey Parker, Tonie Carroll (NB, Carroll moved into run on side before kick off). NEW SOUTH WALES Anthony Minichiello, Matt King, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Timana Tahu, Braith Anasta, Andrew Johns, Jason Ryles, Danny Buderus, Luke Bailey, Nathan Hindmarsh, Craig Fitzgibbon, Ben Kennedy. Interchange: Steve Simpson, Craig Gower, Andrew Ryan, Steve Menzies (NB: Simpson moved into run-on side, Bailey to bench).