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In what will go down as one of the great Origin clashes, NSW came back from a 19-0 deficit to lead 20-19 nine minutes from fulltime. A late field goal from Maroon?s half back Jonathan Thurston sent the match into extra time.
The Queenslanders dominated the first half, posting a 10-0 lead after 19 minutes following penalty goals to Cameron Smith and a diving try to Ty Williams. Smith?s boot put the home side further ahead before five eighth Darren Lockyer delivered the masterstroke just before half time, kicking a field goal and putting the Maroons 13-0 in front.
Queensland went further ahead in the second half following a four-pointer to forward Michael Crocker in the 47th minute. At 19-0, Queensland seemed to have the match in the bag.
But NSW suddenly lifted, controlling the ruck and running in four unanswered tries. Winger Luke Rooney was the first to score, crossing out wide in the 51st minute before centre Mark Gasnier scored next to the posts 10 minutes later. The Blues were in again in the 68th minute through back rower Craig Fitzgibbon and again three minutes later when skipper Danny Buderus was on hand to score.
Two minutes from fulltime, Thurston struck the ball beautifully from right in front, the drop goal being touched in flight by a Blues' hand.
In a match full of courage from both sides, it came down to the luck of the draw. An ill-timed pass from Blues? half back Brett Kimmorley was swooped upon by Bowen, the outside back racing 40 metres across open ground and leaving the NSW chasers in his wake.
Scorers: QUEENSLAND MAROONS 24 Tries: Williams, Crocker, Bowen Goals: Smith 5/5, Lockyer 0/1 Field Goals: Lockyer 1/2, Thurston 1/1 NEW SOUTH WALES BLUES 20 Tries: Rooney, Gasnier, Fitzgibbon, Buderus Goals: Fitzgibbon 2/3, Kimmorley 0/1
Live commentary: 0 min: A huge crowd in Brisbane tonight. Fasten your seat belts for State of Origin I. Crowd estimate: 52,000
Players on the field... National Anthem done with.
NSW get the expected Lang Park reception. The Maroons get a huge cheer. NSW to kick off.... kick off!!!
6 min: PENALTY GOAL - QLD. Cameron Smith is successful from almost in front. The Maroons draw first blood. QLD 2-0
15 min: Still 2-0 to the QLD. Some tremendous end-to-end football with both sides finding space just wide of the ruck.
17: PENALTY GOAL - QLD. Easy for Smith as NSW hooker Danny Buderus is penalised for hands on the ball. QLD 4-0
19 min: TRY - QLD. Ty Williams scores under the posts after Darren Lockyer passes inside to Bill Slater, the ball is deemed to have come off Slater's knee as it goes forward. Williams picks up the loose ball from 5 metres out and scores. Conversion Smith. QLD 10-0
27 min: NEWS - Players called out by the ref after a simple dust up. NSW get the penalty while QLD are in possession. Carl Webb getting involved and costing his team.
28 min: NEWS - It?s on again! A little bit of biff as the lads are still sorting things out.
32 min: PENALTY GOAL - QLD. Smith makes no mistake from almost in front. NSW's Trent Barrett penalised for a high shot. QLD 12-0
36 min: NEWS - NSW get some rare field position and attack with back-to-back sets at the QLD line. But they are unable to get across with the Lockyer being on hand to defuse a cross field kick.
39 min: FIELD GOAL - QLD. No one expecting it and Lockyer delivers a masterstroke just before half time. QLD 13-0
HALF TIME: Overall its been a dominant display from QLD who have controlled the ruck better than NSW. QLD fullback Billy Slater is answering the call and returning the ball beautifully. NSW lacking some spark with their chase game and have some work to do.
Second half underway...
43 min: NO TRY - NSW. Luke Rooney deemed to have been held up. Video ref sending it back to ref's call.
47 min: TRY - QLD. Michael Crocker changes direction and scores after QLD get repeat sets. The Queenslanders playing like men possessed when near the NSW line. NSW defending gallantly but simply can't match the Maroons tonight. Conversion Smith from almost in front. QLD 19-0
51 min: TRY - NSW. Rooney scores in the corner as NSW strike back. Barrett and Matt Cooper getting involved to create the overlap. Wide conversion attempt from Craig Fitzgibbon is unsuccessful. QLD 19-4
61 min: TRY - NSW. Mark Gasnier scores next to the posts following a 50 metre movement set up by Barrett and Nathan Hindmarsh who puts Anthony Minichiello into a gap. Gasnier backs up to score in good position. Easy conversion attempt from Brett Kimmorley is unsuccessful and may be a costly miss. QLD 19-8
68 min: TRY - NSW. Fitzgibbon comes back off the bench and scores following a break down the left flank and then kick ahead by Cooper. Fitzgibbon is on hand to pick up the dregs and scores 10m from the posts. Sensational comeback. Conversion Fitzgibbon. QLD 19-14
71 min: TRY - NSW. Buderus scores near the posts after winger Matt King dances down the touch line. NSW well on top! Conversion OK from Fitzgibbon. NSW 20-19
76 min: PENALTY AND NO GOAL - QLD get a penalty and Lockyer is unsuccessful from 32m out and 8m wide of centre.
78 min: FIELD GOAL - QLD' Jonathan Thurston slots it through from in front and the scores are all locked up! 20-all
80 min: FULL TIME: 20-all We'll start again. Golden point time, the next team to score will win. 5 minutes each way and we'll play until we get a result!
82 min: NEWS - Field goal attempt from Lockyer goes wide.
84 min: TRY - QLD. Matt Bowen scores an intercept try off a Kimmorley pass, running 40 metres and winning the game for Queensland. QLD 24-20
Tremendous opener to the State of Origin series. Queensland go one up. NSW tackled their hearts out and got back in the match scoring 4 tries to 3. But QLD just had the edge in the end. Both sides overflowing with G&D and one of the classic Origin clashes.
For Queensland, prop Steve Price was tremendous in leading the hit ups and had plenty of support from Petero Civoniceva. Five eighth Darren Lockyer took control early on to put Queensland in a winning position and half back Jonathan Thurston aquitted himself well. For the Blues, Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke Bailey and Craig Fitzgibbon put in a mountain of defence. Five eighth Trent Barrett did a lot to bring NSW back into the game while Matt King and Luke Rooney were the best of the NSW outside backs.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Price (Maroons) 2 - T Barrett (Blues) 1 - D Lockyer (Maroons) -----------------------------------------