Suncorp Stadium hosted an enthralling decider to the 2011 State of Origin series which saw the Queensland Maroons give Maroons living legend and out going captain Darren Lockyer a fairy tale finish defeating New South Wales 34-24 in front of a ground record equalling packed house of 52,498.
Queensland started very dominantly with purpose and intent. Errors were their strongest adversaries in the opening stages, with dominance of possession, field position and the general run of play. The dominance finally spilled over onto the scoreboard in the 16th minute with a try to Greg Inglis. Thurston nailed a difficult conversion but a six point lead was not enough to reflect the first half dominance of the Queensland side. Queensland began to rectify this with a try to Thaiday in the 25th minute as well as another two by the 34th to make it 3 tries in ten minutes to bridge the gap between their dominance on field and the scoreboard. Smith crossed in the 31st and Yow Yeh in the 34th. Thurston with all the first half kicking duties had a perfect conversion rate to give Queensland a 24 nil lead which was a much better reflection of the first half. There was however still time before the interval and the first half was not over yet.
New South Wales managed to hit back at the big lead late in the first half after a few Queensland hands could not get a clean hold of a Soward grubber, Lewis managed to collect it instead and put Minichiello in to score, Soward converted but the Blues looked very far from being back in the game. This changed in the last minute of the half when defensive lapses invited New South Wales in. Gasnier accepted the invitation putting Uate in to score to take us into the interval with Queensland ahead by only 14 points with a 24-10 score line.
The second half was ripe for the taking, but Queensland weren't about let the game out of their grasp despite handing the Blues' many opportunities. Queensland found their biggest set back came from themselves in the 59th minute when Thurston was accidentally struck in the back of the left knee by fellow Queenslander Harrison, earning him an injury likely to prematurely end his season. The injury seemed to have reignited the Queensland attack which put the first points of the second half on in the 65th minute. A Queensland set play put Billy Slater in to score his first try of the series. Smith took over kicking duties in the absence of Thurston and struck his first attempt with the same accuracy as Thurston. The Queensland scoring finished in the 69h minute in the same way it started with a try to Greg Inglis.
Queensland had wrapped up the game, but there was still time left for New South Wales to add some respectability to their score line and they did just that with an 8 point try to the 72nd minute. A Hayne dive for the try line was taken upstairs for adjudication after Smith came into the tackle with the knees, a penalty try was awarded and Smith was subsequently put on report. Hayne collected the first four points and Soward added the second 4 with his boot. New South Wales scored crossed again for the final points of the game and series through a try to Greg Bird, converted by Soward to give New South Wales a very flattering 34-24 score line after having been dominated in all the parts of the game that counted. Queensland took a very deserved victory in the end to see Lockyer out a winner and clinch their 6th straight origin series.
Queensland 34 defeated New South Wales 24
State of Origin - State of Origin III - Wednesday July 6, 2011 8:00pm
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Tony Archer and Shayne Hayne
Video Referee: Steve Clark and Paul Simpkins
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Daniel Eastwood
Halftime: Queensland 24 New South Wales 10
Tries: Billy Slater, Greg Inglis (2), Cameron Smith, Sam Thaiday, Jharal Yow Yeh
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (4/4), Cameron Smith (1/2)
NEW SOUTH WALES (24)
Tries: Jarryd Hayne, Greg Bird, Akuila Uate, Anthony Minichiello
Conversions: Jamie Soward (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Jamie Soward (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to State of Origin 3! The decider, Lockyer's last match. Team changes: NSW lose Michael Jennings and Beau Scott from the named squad. Click the "Team Lists" tab for the full and final lineups!
The time is upon us. Have Tricky Ricky's tactics worked? Or will the Maroons rise to the occasion and send Lockyer out a winner. This is STATE of ORIGIN!
1 min: Smith kicks off - game on.
1 min: Blues hooker Michael Ennis kicks on the third from the 30 and Queensland are invited toward some good territory early.
2 min: PENALTY to the Blues, Queensland players offside on a Smith bomb.
3 min: Minichiello knocks on and Queensland have a scrum 10 metres their own side of halfway.
5 min: Lockyer bombs and Minichiello marks it in the field of play only to be forced in goal for a line drop out.
6 min: Thaiday gets the ball stolen from him in a one on one tackle from Brett Morris.
7 min: Queensland attempt a strip, but propel it forward, giving NSW a scrum.
9 min: Morris streaks down the left flank, but is stopped by Slater before he loses control of the ball 40 out from his own line.
11 min: Smith puts a deft little grubber in to earn a repeat set for Queensland by collecting Mannah with it in goal to force a line drop out.
12 min: Another repeat set for Queensland at the line as Soward plays at a Lockyer grubber.
13 min: Thurston fails to collect a pass and gifts the ball back to New South Wales.
14 min: PENALTY to Queensland who are now given another opportunity to attack the New South Wales line.
16 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Queensland TRY.
17 min: TRY
TRY to Queensland! Thurston on the third dummies then puts a pin point grubber in, Inglis collects it and runs it into the corner to score. Thurston nails a difficult conversion.
18 min: Queensland put on a dominant set and earn a repeat set, forcing a line drop out with a beautiful kick and even better chase.
20 min: New South Wales defending very well and finally regain possession through Glenn Stewart.
21 min: Pearce boots it out on the full from inside his own 30 gifting Queensland a scrum feed in great field position.
22 min: Queensland force another line drop out this time through a very smart boot from Slater and chase from Yow Yeh.
24 min: Another line drop out.
26 min: TRY
TRY to Queensland! This one looked a little too easy Slater put Thaiday into a hole to go in to score beside the post untouched. Thurston nails a simple conversion.
27 min: Ennis is in the dressing sheds, unclear what the trouble is, but this is not a good sign for him.
29 min: Queensland still dominating the field position, but have started sharing possession and both teams are completing their sets.
30 min: Lockyer makes a big break though the middle on the second before being stopped 20 out from the New South Wales line.
31 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Queensland TRY.
32 min: TRY
TRY to Queensland! Cameron Smith picks it up from dummy half a metre from the line and just burrows in to score. Conversion attempt from Thurston successful.
35 min: TRY
TRY to the Maroons! Lockyer puts a kick which troubles Minichiello and bounces off his knee, Yow Yeh pounces on it and runs in to score. Conversion attempt from Thurston successful.
36 min: Uate marks a boot and the Blues finally have possession again.
39 min: TRY
TRY to the Blues! Queensland can't get a grip on a Soward boot and Lewis collects it and passes it up to Minichiello to score. Conversion attempt from Soward successful.
40 min: Queensland gift New South Wales six again in the final minute.
40 min: TRY
TRY to New South Wales. Queensland defence goes to sleep in the final minute and Gasnier flies down the right flank to put Uate in to score. Conversion attempt from Jamie Soward unsuccessful.
40 min: Half time with Queensland up 24-10.
41 min: Jarryd Hayne kicks the second half into play.
42 min: New South Wales have come out in the second half with plenty of intent in defence and attack, interested in snatching the game away from Queensland.
42 min: Gasnier drops it and Queensland pounce on the ball.
44 min: Hodges knocks on and Hayne pounces on it and streaks down the left flank.
45 min: PENALTY to the Blues giving them a great opportunity to attack.
45 min: Minichiello knocks on to hand the ball over cheaply.
48 min: Hodges loses the football in a Gallen tackle 20 metres out from the Queensland line and the Blues are right on the attack.
49 min: Yow Yeh marks a bomb in goal and after a bit of biff, Queensland finally take the 20 metre tap.
53 min: The contest is starting to look more even with both sides completing their sets and some good defence.
55 min: Thurston knocks on and the blues are invited to attack.
56 min: PENALTY to New South Wales 15 out from the Queensland line.
57 min: New South Wales starting to get frustrated out there.
58 min: New South Wales earn a repeat set forcing the line drop out by forcing Lockyer in goal.
59 min: Thurston in a lot of trouble, hit in the knee accidentally by Queensland team mate Harrison and he looks to be in agony as he gets medicabbed off the field. Queensland have a scrum courtesy of a Minichiello knock on.
61 min: Slater puts a superb tackle on Watmough after a Watmough line break to earn a handover.
62 min: PENALTY to Queensland putting them right on the attack.
63 min: Smith grubber is too deep and the Blues have a 20 metre restart.
64 min: Kurt Gidley knocks on inside his own 40, to give Queensland another opportunity to attack.
66 min: TRY
TRY to Queensland! Smith to Lockyer, gets a long pass on to Thaiday goes inside to Slater to score his 11th origin try. Cameron Smith given the kicking duties in the absence of Thurston nails the conversion.
68 min: PENALTY to Queensland for a late tackle on Lockyer and this could be an opportunity for Queensland to wrap up the game.
71 min: TRY
TRY to Queensland! Inglis barges over for his second of the night. Conversion attempt from Cameron Smith unsuccessful.
71 min: New South Wales put a short kick off in and New South Wales have possession off the kick off.
72 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible TRY to the Blues, may be a PENALTY TRY.
72 min: TRY
PENALTY TRY to the Blues! Hayne scores the TRY. Smith is put on report for coming in with the knees and Soward boots the first conversion.
73 min: PENALTY GOAL
Soward adds an extra 2 for the 8 point TRY. With it there is confirmation that Thurston has sustained a serious ACL injury and his season is likely to be over.
74 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Queensland TRY.
74 min: NO TRY! Somewhat controversial call, but unlikely to impact the result.
75 min: Luke Lewis knocks on and Queensland are handed possession ten shy of halfway.
77 min: Queensland force Glenn Stewart in goal on the second tackle to force a line drop out.
78 min: Pearce throws a long pass to Hayne to streak down the left flank making a good 50 metres before finding Morris who is stopped by Boyd.
79 min: TRY
TRY to the Blues! Uate finds Bird who runs an angle into a hole to score. Conversion from Soward successful.
80 min: The hooter blows and it is all over, Queensland take their sixth straight series winning the decider here 34-24, sending Lockyer out a winner.