Today Sam Bourke takes a look at the optimism in the water out Bondi way, as the Sydney Roosters loo...
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A Willie Mason knock-on in the first set of six set the pattern for the game as the Blues never recovered, being hammered from pillar to post in every Queensland tackle. The first try came from a crafty set play at the scrum base, Flannery peeling off at lock, passing back inside to Webb who strolled over untouched after breaking from the scrum himself. A great length of the field intercept try from Justin Hodges 12 minutes later saw the Maroons take a 14-0 lead into halftime.
Unlike Queensland in Game I, there would be no comeback for the Blues as further tries to Berrigan and a double from debutant Adam Mogg saw them race away to a match-winning 30 point lead. New South Wales crossed late in the match through Tahu, but by then the game was well and truly lost, and minds were no doubt already focusing on Game III in three weeks time.
Five eighth Darren Lockyer and halfback Johnathan Thurston had a field day, their running, kicking and passing games forcing the Blues backwards all night. New South Wales may be looking at some new faces in their squad for Game III, however they only played as well as Queensland would allow, so changes may only be forced through injury.
Speaking of injuries, Queensland's Steve Bell went off the field after a headclash with Steve Menzies, whilst for the Blues Eric Grothe has apparently come away with a corked thigh. Both players are in doubt for their respective clubs this weekend.
The weather is cool and clear, it's time to get this show on the road.
The teams are out on the field, the anthem has been delivered, it's showtime!
1 min: NEWS Darren Lockyer kicks off and we're underway in Game II 2006
2 min: NEWS Mason makes the first mistake of the match and Queensland go straight on the attack
3 min: NEWS Hodges offloads with 6 defenders hanging off him, fortunately for the Blues the ball trickles into touch
6 min: PENALTY GOAL Queensland Thurston converts a penalty after Kite is penalised for holding down in the play the ball QLD 2-0
12 min: NEWS Queensland are dominating field position in the early exchanges
17 min: NEWS Luke Bailey makes his way onto the field for the first time tonight, as does Flannery for the Maroons
18 min: NEWS The Blues handling is leaving alot to be desired as Buderus drops the ball cold after being tackled by Lockyer.
20 min: TRY Queensland Carl Webb strolls over one pass from the scrum, giving the Maroons the reward that their defence demanded. Thurston converts from in front of the posts QLD 8-0
23 min: NEWS O'Meley knocks on after a Civoniceva shoulder barge. QLD are back on the attack
28 min: NEWS The Blues get a relieving penalty on their own line as Queensland's defence continues to force them backwards
32 min: TRY Queensland Hodges races the length of the field to score after a Blues pass hits him on the chest. Thurston converts QLD 14-0
37 min: NEWS Tate is held up over the try line as the Maroons look to put this game out of reach before halftime
HALFTIME - Queensland leave the field to a standing ovation, almost erasing memories of their first half display in Game I. The Blues on the other hand have looked out of sorts since Mason knocked on from the opening set of six. Their game needs to lift in all facets if they are to have any chance of taking the series tonight.
41 min: NEWS Hodgson kicks off and here we go for the second half
42 min: NEWS After a great hit by Sam Thaiday, a Finch pass hits Mason in the face giving the Maroons a dream start to the second half
46 min: TRY Queensland A horror pass from Anasta to Gasnier brings about a dropped ball. Thurston toes ahead, regathers, then passes spectacularly to Mogg who easily scores his first Origin try on debut. Thurston converts. QLD 20-0
47 min: NEWS An easily dropped ball by Smith gives the Blues a chance to get back into the match, but they squander yet another chance with good field position
52 min: NEWS More of the same from the Blues, as Finch drops a more than catchable pass
53 min: NEWS Jacob Lillyman is on the field for his debut Origin experience, not a bad time to do it with his team leading by 20 points
55 min: NEWS Gasnier is given a chat by Steve Clark after blowing up following another NSW dropped ball. Queensland are on the attack now, but lose the ball after a bad pass from Lockyer
58 min: NEWS NSW squander their best chance of the match after a great burst by King down the right flank. The ball goes through the hands to Menzies who looks to draw and pass only to lose it forward, relieving all pressure off the Maroons
61 min: NEWS 20 minutes to go and it looks certain we are heading to Telstra Dome for a Game 3 decider. NSW need an act of God, actually make that 5 or 6 acts of God to snare the series from here
64 min: TRY Queensland Mogg scores his second try, diving into the corner after King rushes up out of the line to stop the Maroon attack. Video ref says TRY and Game II belongs to Queensland. Thurston misses the conversion from the sideline QLD 24-0
67 min: TRY Queensland Lockyer makes a great break down the middle of the park, draws Hodgson to put Berrigan away under the sticks. Thurston converts easily from in front QLD 30-0
75 min: NEWS 5 minutes remaining and the match is going through the motions at the moment. NSW seem to want to get off the field as quickly as possible while Queensland look like they could play on all night
77 min: TRY New South Wales Great hands by the Blues sees Timana Tahu score nothing more than a consolation try, whilst leaving NSW fans wondering where those skills were in the previous 70-odd minutes. Hodgson converts QLD 30-6
FULLTIME - Queensland have completely dominated from go to woah, squaring the series and taking all momentum into Game III. New South Wales could possibly be looking at changes to their squad after they appeared to be outplayed from jersey 1 to jersey 17. ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - Jonathon Thurston (Maroons) 2 - Darren Lockyer (Maroons) 1 - Adam Mogg (Maroons) -----------------------------------------