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The Queensland Maroons are on track for a record breaking fifth consecutive State of Origin series win after a 28-24 victory over the New South Wales Blues in front of 68, 753 drenched fans in Game I at ANZ Stadium.
The Maroons went into the sheds ahead 12-8 and had to withstand a brief second half comeback from the homeside.
But they were never really threatened and tries to Greg Inglis and Sam Thaiday helped Queensland take a 28-14 advantage in the 67th minute, before two late four-pointers to the Blues gave some respectability to the scoreline.
New South Wales grabbed the first points of the game when Jarryd Hayne pounced on a lucky riccochet after a Darius Boyd fumble.
But Queensland hit back in the 15th minute thanks to Johnathan Thurston. The crafty playmaker drew in the defence before miraculously flinging a pass over the top to an unmarked Boyd. Thurston converted from the sideline to level it at 6-all.
The Blues regained the lead with a penalty goal but Queensland snatched the advantage yet again on the back of another big play from their halfback. Thurston this time provided an inside kick for Billy Slater, who showed surprisingly safe hands to scoop up a greasy ball and burrow over.
Queensland opened their account in the second stanza when Dave Shillington squeezed out a well timed offload for a flying Darren Lockyer to give his side a 16-8 lead.
New South Wales backrower Anthony Watmough crossed for another try on the back of a kick to reduce the deficit to 16-14 but the scent of a Blues comeback was only temporary as Queensland surged ahead with stunning four-pointers to Inglis and Thaiday - the centre finished off a backline movement, while Thaiday capitalised after LeagueUnlimited's Man of the Match Thurston stole the ball one-on-one from Kurt Gidley.
The Blues managed two late tries, to debutant Jamal Idris and Ben Creagh, to give an ounce of respectability to the scoreline.
New South Wales will be left to lick their wounds and regroup ahead of Game II at Suncorp Stadium in three weeks time. There will without doubt be plently of selection conjecture in the media over the coming days.
New South Wales 24 were defeated by Queensland 28
State of Origin - State of Origin Game 1 2010 - Wednesday May 26, 2010 8:00pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Tony Archer and Shayne Hayne
Video Referee: Bill Harrigan and Paul Simpkins
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and David Abood
Halftime: New South Wales 8 Queensland 12
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Johnathan Thurston (4 Conversions)
2 Points - Nate Myles
1 Point - Darren Lockyer (1 Try)
New South Wales (24)
Tries: Jarryd Hayne, Ben Creagh, Anthony Watmough, Jamal Idris
Conversions: Jamie Lyon (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Jamie Lyon (1/1)
Tries: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Darren Lockyer, Sam Thaiday
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (4/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to tonight's coverage of the most anticipated clash of 2010, State of Origin I from ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
There were some fireworks in Game III last year and it wouldn't surprise me to see tensions boil over again. It is very wet weather here tonight, the curtain raiser was cancelled to ensure the playing surface is kept in good condition.
There are five debutants on show tonight; Matt Ballin, Cooper Cronk and Dave Taylor for the Maroons and giant centre Jamal Idris and Brett Morris for the home side.
I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the game as well, so drop me an email on [email protected] and let me know who you are, where you're from and which state you support.
Kick off is just after 8pm!
Queensland make their way on to the field and are met with a chorus of boos.
The rain is drizzling down in a steady haze as both teams line up for the national anthem performed by Sam Moran.
1 min: Queensland kick off and will run right to left!
1 min: Kimmorley kicks early in the tackle count and Darius Boyd is hammered on the kick return.
2 min: Hayne comes flying into the defence and knocks Thurston into next week.
3 min: Kimmorley puts up a huge bomb and Slater comes up with a fumble - Queensland line drop out.
5 min: The Maroons get a penalty to help them out of their own end after holding NSW at bay for a set.
6 min: Several handling errors already. Harrison, then Watmough and then Inglis - slippery conditions tonight.
7 min: TRY
First points of the game to NSW! The Blues bomb high on the last tackle and Darius Boyd makes a meal of the catch at the back, the ball riccochets back into the ingoal and Jarryd Hayne gets his hands to it first.
New South Wales 6-0
9 min: Queensland kick out on the full of the restart - they look off their game in the early stages.
12 min: The Blues are dominating field position at the moment, Queensland have barely made it out of their own half.
14 min: Matt Cooper knocks on giving the Maroons their first attacking opportunity and a penalty compounds the problem.
15 min: TRY
Queensland hit back with their first chance! Johnathan Thurston runs the ball and the defence all converges but he somehow loops the pass out wide to an unmarked Darius Boyd on the wing. Thurston converts from the sideline.
17 min: That try looks to have settled some of the early jitters from the Maroons.
19 min: Boyd makes up for his previous fumble with a great take under pressure - NSW look determined to launch a bombing raid tonight.
21 min: A highly forward dominated contest in the first quarter, as Nate Myles drops the ball in the tackle.
24 min: Queensland show some unexpected enterprise and run the ball on the last but the play ends with a Folau mistake.
25 min: Matt Scott comes up with a charge down that Steven Price would be proud of.
29 min: The Blues get a penalty after Harrison is penalised for being accidentally offside but replays show it came off a New South Welshman.
29 min: PENALTY GOAL
Jamie Lyon takes the kick at goal from just off centre and adds an extra two points for the home side.
New South Wales 8-6
31 min: A brilliant kick from Mick Ennis forces Queensland to work the ball out from their own goal line.
33 min: The Jarryd Hayne train derails momentarily as the winger drops it cold - Maroons with the scrum on halfway.
34 min: TRY
Queensland are in again!! Johnathan Thurston kicks back on the inside and Billy Slater does extremely well to pick up a low ball and burrow over for his eighth Origin try. Thurston makes no mistake with the conversion.
37 min: The rumblings of a Queenslander chant makes it way around ANZ Stadium.
38 min: Queensland make the first clean break of the match but Tonga is dragged down by Morris - the Maroons spin the ball wide on the next tackle but Inglis is somehow held up after fielding a cross field kick.
39 min: That was special defence from Gidley and Tahu - could be a big turning point in the context of the match.
Halftime: It's been a real slog up the middle for the majority of the first half. Neither team has really spread the ball to the fringes but as the defence begins to tire we could see the game open up. Queensland's kicking game has been the superior and they've capitalised on their few chances on the NSW line.
41 min: We're underway again! Idris is on the field at the expense of Matt Cooper, interesting call from Bellamy.
42 min: Idris makes his first charge and he skittles a few defenders for good measure.
45 min: Sam Thaiday receives a penalty, one of those 50/50 calls in the ruck. Was it stripped or lost? The referee rules stripped.
47 min: The Maroons get another set on the NSW line after a charge down from Anthony Watmough.
48 min: TRY
Queensland set their backline deep and Dave Shillington stands and get an offload away to a flying Darren Lockyer - reminds me of the days when he was back at fullback. Thurston misses the conversion.
50 min: The Blues need to lift the game, Queensland have upped the tempo and NSW can't go with them at this stage.
50 min: Jamie Lyon chips ahead, Hayne regathers but then just throws the ball over the sideline trying to pull off a no-look pass.
53 min: New South Wales launch a promising attacking raid but Creagh can't field a Brett Kimmorley short ball.
55 min: Gidley slices through the line but is cut down a metre short by Billy Slater.
55 min: Video referee - possible NSW try..
55 min: TRY
A cross field bomb can't be grasped by either side before Anthony Watmough picks up the scraps and dives over. Lyon converts easily. It's game on!
58 min: Tahu tramples over Darren Lockyer as the Blues work it away from their line.
59 min: Nate Myles gets a great offload away and the Maroons keep the ball alive and gain another 20 metres.
62 min: TRY
Queensland run the ball wide through Thurston, who again draws in the defence before getting it out to Inglis who then passes to Boyd. The winger then finds Inglis again on the inside and he steps the last line of defence to touch down in the corner. Thurston converts from wide out.
66 min: Queensland have all the momentum again as Cooper Cronk enters the field for the first time.
67 min: And Cronk nearly makes a break in his first run from dummy half.
67 min: Video referee - possible Queensland try, Thurston's stolen the ball from Gidley but was the strip one on one or two on one..
67 min: TRY
Try again to the Maroons! Kurt Gidley makes a run-of-the-mill kick return but Thurston comes up with a one-on-one steal before passing the ball out to Sam Thaiday! Thurston converts.
69 min: New South Wales now need three tries in eleven minutes..
70 min: In an act of desperation, Brett Kimmorley tries a chip but it falls in the hands of Lockyer.
73 min: Video referee - possible NSW try, checking the corner post and sideline..
73 min: TRY
Jamal Idris crashes over on debut after the Blues run it on the last tackle and find an overlap on the right flank. Lyon's kick hits the posts.
75 min: New South Wales get the scrum feed and a penalty for Queensland interference in the scrum.
77 min: The Blues force a goal line dropout in the closing stages.
78 min: Brett Kimmorley looks to have passed off the ground while tackled but the referees rule otherwise.
79 min: Video referee - possible NSW try, checking to see whether Ben Creagh has knocked on..
80 min: TRY
Maroons' fullback Billy Slater fumbles a grubber, Ben Creagh picks up the loose ball and sneaks over. Lyon converts.
Fulltime: Queensland have drawn first blood in 2010 after outclassing New South Wales in wet and heavy conditions. The kicking games of Lockyer and Thurston gave the Maroons good field position and while the Blues grabbed some late tries, they never really threatened the line on a consistent basis.