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The New South Wales Blues have scored a dominant 27-4 victory over the Queensland Maroons to win the match and the series at Telstra Stadium tonight.
The Blues' forward pack overpowered their Queensland counterparts and raced away to a 16-0 lead after 26 minutes. NSW skipper, Andrew Johns potted a field goal after the half time siren to take his team to a 17-0 lead.
The second half saw the weather close in and the slippery conditions saw errors from both sides with the Maroons being the worst offenders.
NSW continued to defend strongly and often frustrated the Queenslanders. A try to NSW winger Timana Tahu in the 49th minute extended the lead to 23-0 and gave the Maroons next to no hope of getting into the match.
The result sees NSW wrap up the series and squaring up the State of Origin ledger at 33 wins apiece.
With a few Queensland reputations coming to grief, vengeance will on the mind in three weeks time. Origin III will be a hard fought encounter as pride take precedence over trophies.
Scorers: NEW SOUTH WALES BLUES 27 Tries: Tahu 2, Kennedy, Gidley, Minichiello Goals: Johns 3/6 FG: Johns QUEENSLAND MAROONS 4 Tries: Crocker Goals: Crocker 0/1
Wednesday 25 June 2003 Kickoff 8:00 PM Telstra Stadium Referee: Bill Harrigan Crowd: 79,132
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Timmins (NSW) 2 - A Johns (NSW) 1 - L Bailey (NSW)
By the clock: 0 min: A cool night on a damp pitch. Tremendous build up to a packed house. Kickoff just moments away... Kickoff!
5 min: Both sides sorting themselves out with some strong defence. Still 0-all
10 min: Still 0-all. NSW gaining some field position and possession.
12 min: TRY - NSW. Ben Kennedy scores following a deft banana kick from Andrew Johns. The ball is deflected backwards off Mick De Vere who then cleans up referee Bill Harrigan while Kennedy cleans up the dregs. Conversion next to stick from Johns is successful. NSW 6-0
19 min: TRY - NSW. Matt Gidley dances through some poor Qld defence to score next to the posts. A soft try. Conversion Johns successful. NSW 12-0
23 min: NEWS - Steven Price (Qld) is forced from the field in a groggy state following a swinging arm from Ben Kennedy who is placed on report.
26 min: TRY - NSW. Anthony Minichiello scores out wide. Follows great lead up work from Bryan Fletcher and Jamie Lyon. Conversion Johns unsuccessful. NSW 16-0
27 min: NEWS - Craig Wing (NSW) comes on in place of Ben Kennedy
34 min: NEWS - Fletcher (NSW) comes off with looks like a hamstring injury and is unlikely to return. Qld making errors and NSW on the attack.
40 min: FIELD GOAL - NSW. The second half siren sounds and Andrew Johns pops a one-pointer when all other options are exhausted. Follows a clever 20m re-start from Johns when he saw the flank unguarded and opted for a drop-out to find touch inside the Qld half and put NSW on the attack.
HALFTIME: NSW 17-0 It's been all NSW with Qld being limited to few opportunities. The match being played mainly in the Maroons' half. Plenty of stars in the NSW side including Johns, Kennedy, Ricketson, Fitzgibbon and Timmins. For Qld, Darren Lockyer is seemingly playing a lone hand. 40 minutes to go and Qld have all the work to do...
SECOND HALF IS UNDERWAY...
45 min: PENALTY GOAL - NSW. Johns from 30m out and right in front. Comes on the back of a tremendous run from prop forward Luke Bailey. NSW 19-0
49 min: TRY - NSW. Timana Tahu scores following a clever kick from Shaun Timmins into the in-goal. Maroons too slow to react. Follows back to back penalties - Queensland marched another 10m for dissent. Johns conversion attempt 15m in from touch is unsuccessful. NSW running away with it now. 23-0
53 min: NEWS - Dust-up with players running in. Shane Webcke (Qld) and Phil Bailey (NSW) called out. Qld get the penalty.
59 min: NEWS - Crowd posted: 79,132. Boths sides making a few errors now as the rain comes down down.
69 min: TRY - Qld. Michael Crocker is awarded a try after chasing a kick through. He appears to knock on over the line but ref Harrigan doesnt go to the video-ref and gets Qld on the board. Conversion Crocker unsuccessful. NSW 23-4
73 min: TRY - NSW. Tahu gets a double. Follows a typically wonderful flick pass from Gidley. Conversion Johns unsuccessful. NSW 27-4
78 min: NEWS- Ben Kennedy forced from the field with a serious shoulder/arm injury.
FULL TIME: A dominant NSW win the match and the series. Qld now have to re-group to avoid a clean sweep in Origin III.