A last minute effort from James Tedesco has given New South Wales back-to-back series victories in a 26-20 result tonight at ANZ Stadium.
It was an origin classic - NSW had to dig deep, fighting off a gallant Queensland fightback in the final ten minutes, but some magic from Wally Lewis medalist James Tedesco sealed a thrilling series victory in the final minute of what was a breathless Origin series.
Coming into the contest, Mitchell Pearce or any of his sixteen teammates hadn't tasted success in an Origin decider. As the clock ticked into the final minute, after Josh Papalii had dived over, it looked like Queensland were going to do it again. Enter Pearce.
Going nowhere in the final set, the maligned half spun it right to Tom Trbojevic, who linked with another debated selection in Blake Ferguson. The Eels star danced down the sideline, found former teammate Tedesco to send the sold out ANZ Stadium crowd and a whole state into rapture.
BOYD CORDNER LIFTS THE 2019 #ORIGIN SHIELD.@NSWRL are CHAMPIONS! pic.twitter.com/fr74tqyFuD
— LeagueUnlimited NRL & Rugby League News (@LeagueUnlimited) July 10, 2019
After the hour mark, it looked to be smooth sailing for the Blues. Tedesco and Damien Cook, menaces with their running game cracked open the contest with two wonderful eyes-up efforts that made it 20-8 and the Queensland side looked gassed.
Origin is littered with stories of Queensland overcoming drama to break Blues hearts. Injuries had plagued their build-up but the late call-up Ethan Lowe sparked the revival. A brave chargedown on a James Maloney kick set up Josh Mcguire to bounce over. That familiar dread crept closer when Papalii steamed onto a Daly Cherry-Evans short ball and suddenly, it was 20-all.
In the first half, it looked like the Maroons charged up were going to test the Blues. Corey Norman stabbed through a deft kick for Felise Kaufusi to latch onto then Lowe kicking a pair of goals to make it 8-2. The energy in defense and spreads early in the count troubled the usually resolute Blues defence.
Much like they had to all series, the Blues fought back. Dragons prop Paul Vaughan leveled things up just before the break, so headed into the final half of what has been a close series was evenly poised to see who would lift the shield.
NSW sealed the series in dramatic style. Those cloaked in blue might call it karma for the heartbreak that had dogged them for the Queensland dominance, and it was vindication for Mitchell Pearce, maligned, dropped and recalled - the Knights half can call himself a series winner.