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Queensland have taken out their third successive State Of Origin series with a heart stopping 16-10 victory over new South Wales at ANZ Stadium before 78,750 fans. It was a real backs-to-the-wall effort by the Maroons, as they lost key playmaker Scott Prince after 20 minutes with a suspected broken arm. Some late changes by both teams included Blues coach Craig Bellamy bringing in Kurt Gidley to start in place of Brett Stewart, and the move looked to have paid off with Gidley heavily involved in the New South Wales attack, giving the final pass for Matt Cooper to score in the 15th minute.
It was Queensland however who crossed the chalk first in the 5th minute thanks to a dropped bomb by Anthony Quinn that fell into the waiting arms of Israel Folau to score out wide. It was Folau again in the 22nd minute that got the better of Quinn, out jumping him to catch the ball and place it down brilliantly with one hand whilst being dragged over the dead ball line. Craig Fitzgibbon converted a couple of easy penalty goals to give the Blues a slight advantage going into the break, 10-8.
Queensland drew level with a Thurston penalty goal early in the second half but Maroon hearts must have been in their mouths in the 49th minute as Nate Myles was penalised for a spear-tackle on Blues forward Ben Cross. Referee Tony Archer ruled that a report and a penalty was sufficient and from there the match balanced on a knife-edge until the 68th minute when Thurston broke through some tired Blues defence with a dummy to put Billy Slater away untouched for the match and series winning try.
Match Details Queensland 16 def New South Wales 10 State Of Origin III - July 2nd 2008 8.00pm Venue: ANZ Stadium Referee: Tony Archer Half time: NSW 10-8 Crowd: 78,750
Queensland 16 Tries: Israel Folau (2), Billy Slater Goals: JohnathanThurston (2/4) New South Wales 10 Tries: Matt Cooper Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon (3/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Johnathan Thurston (QLD) 2 Points: Kurt Gidley (NSW) 1 Point: Petero Civoniceva (QLD)
Welcome to ANZ Stadium, Sydney and to LeagueUnlimited.com's *LIVE* update of the decider, State Of Origin III 2008. The weather in Sydney has been fine all day and it looks to be a great night for free-flowing footy.
LATE CHANGES (NSW): Kurt Gidley will start at fullback with Brett Stewart moving to the interchange bench. Ben Cross comes into the lineup for Willie Mason who will start from the bench.
LATE CHANGES (QLD): Michael Crocker goes to the bench and Nate Myles comes into the run-on side to start.
NEW SOUTH WALES: 14 Kurt Gidley (Knights), 2 Jarryd Hayne (Eels), 3 Joel Monaghan (Raiders), 4 Matt Cooper (Dragons), 5 Anthony Quinn (Storm), 6 Braith Anasta (Roosters), 7 Mitchell Pearce (Roosters), 16 Ben Cross (Knights), 9 Danny Buderus (c, Knights), 10 Brett White (Storm), 11 Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters), 12 Ryan Hoffman (Storm), 13 Paul Gallen (Sharks) Interchange: 1 Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), 8 Willie Mason (Roosters), 15 Anthony Laffranchi (Titans), 17 Anthony Tupou (Roosters)
QUEENSLAND: 1 Karmichael Hunt (Broncos), 2 Darius Boyd (Broncos), 3 Greg Inglis (Storm), 4 Brent Tate (Warriors), 5 Israel Folau (Storm), 6 Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys), 7 Scott Prince (Titans), 8 Steven Price (Warriors), 9 Cameron Smith (c, Storm), 10 Petero Civoniceva (Panthers), 16 Nate Myles (Roosters), 12 Ashley Harrison (Titans), 13 Dallas Johnson (Storm) Interchange: 11 Michael Crocker (Storm), 14 Billy Slater (Storm), 15 Ben Hannant (Broncos), 17 Sam Thaiday (Broncos)
Sideline Officials: Russell Turner & Steve Chiddy Video Referee: Tim Mander & Bill Harrigan
1 min: NSW get us started and we are underway
2 min: A high tackle on Ben Cross results in a penalty to NSW, a stink follows and NSW will kick for goal
3 min: PENALTY GOAL New South Wales Craig Fitzgibbon steps up to pot a very easy penalty goal to put the Blues into an early lead New South Wales 2-0
5 min: TRY Queensland Anthony Quinn jumps to take what appears to be a regulation bomb, he fumbles and Israel Folau is on hand for the rebound, he falls over the line for Queenslands first try of the night. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston is away to the right. Queensland 4-2
10 min: Anthony Quinn, hoping to redeem himself makes an excellent run returning the ball from a QLD clearing kick
14 min: QLD has good attacking field position but Dallas Johnson can't keep a handle on the pill
15 min: TRY New South Wales A blindside play on the last tackle sees Buderus pass to Gidley who runs to the line and slips the ball to Matt Cooper who drags Tate over the line to score. Craig Fitzgibbon slots the conversion from out wide. New South Wales 8-4
18 min: Scott Prince has been replaced by Billy Slater, Prince leaving the field with an arm injury
19 min: QLD bomb a great chance to score, Inglis makes a break down the left hand wing, he looks left to pass to Boyd who had already run inside him.
21 min: Thurston grubbers into the NSW in-goal, Jarryd Hayne cleans up but cannot make it into the field of play. QLD to get a repeat set of 6
21 min: Scott Prince will not return for the rest of the night
22 min: TRY Queensland Thurston bombs for Israel Folau who flies high to take a great grab and plant the ball down one-handed before being dragged over the dead ball line. Johnathan Thurston is 0 for 2 as he again sprays this attempt to the right. 8 all
26 min: Danny Buderus picks up the QLD markers for offside, referee Archer obliges and NSW will take the shot for goal to try and take the lead again
28 min: PENALTY GOAL New South Wales Money for jam for Craig Fitzgibbon, Blues back in the lead. New South Wales 10-8
29 min: Anasta loses the ball in the ruck giving Queensland a chance to strike back.
30 min: Jarryd Hayne lies motionless on the ground as the players come together to air their disagreements once again. Hayne appears to be fine as he rejoins the defensive line
32 min: NSW are warming to the task but Hoffman loses control in the tackle to hand possession back to the Maroons
36 min: A set play from Thurston and Slater is brilliantly defused by Gidley
39 min: QLD look to take the lead into half time with a break down the left, Boyd chips inside for Hunt who can't handle and knocks on
40 min: Half time. Penalties: 3-3 Tackles: (NSW) Fitzgibbon - 23 (QLD) Johnson - 20
41 min: QLD restart and there is 40 minutes left in Orgin 2008
43 min: VIDEO REF: Possible try to NSW
44 min: NO TRY: Penalty to QLD for NSW taking out a player not in possession of the ball
45 min: Thurston grubbers for himself but is collared by Gallen, now Thurston has a chance to even the score from directly in front
47 min: PENALTY GOAL Queensland Easy shot for Thurston, game is all level. 10 all
49 min: Ben Cross is spear-tackled by Nate Myles, the players come in to fight again. Cross has no problem getting to his feet to swing a few punches of his own, and Myles is placed on report for a very dangerous tackle
52 min: Time out as Michael Crocker has taken the full force of a Mitchell Pearce clearing kick to the head, knocking him senseless. He leaves the field for medical attention
54 min: NSW bomb to Folau's wing, but he is worthy of the challenge, he slips the ball to Tate who is away but is dragged down from behind and wins the penalty for a strip in the play the ball
56 min: QLD looking very dangerous but Thaiday drops the ball attempting to play it quickly, pressure off as NSW work it off their own line
60 min: QLD are looking for that big attacking play to break the game wide open but Smith's pass from dummy half is ruled forward
62 min: An error by the Maroons as they are caught with the ball on the last tackle, turning over cheap possession
68 min: TRY Queensland Thurston runs across field, throws the dummy and slides between White and Pearce. He passes inside for Slater and it's shut the gate. Johnathan Thurston's conversion from in front is successful. Queensland 16-10
73 min: Desperation for the Blues as Gallen attempts to pass the ball in the ruck but loses it forward
76 min: NSW are throwing everything at the Maroons, but they are defending with everything they have
78 min: QLD look to be setting up for the one pointer, but Smith runs blindside to grubber but the ball goes dead. 2 minutes for the Blues to pull something out of nothing
79 min: The Blues last chance of the night falters with a forward pass
80 min: FULL TIME. Queensland survive a tough match to take the series 2 games to 1.