2 days ago
Maroons deny a Blues Clean-sweep
Billy Slater has left the State of Origin arena a winner, as the Maroons come from behind to win a tense Game III by 18-12 over NSW at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
Queensland dominated the opening 35 minutes of the game, thanks largely to the brilliant short kicking game of Daly Cherry-Evans which forced the Blues to make 4 of their 5 drop outs. The scoring opened after Cook made a great bust through the middle and deep into the Queensland half. The Blues shifted the ball left, before attempting a cut-out pass to the winger, only for Holmes to intercept and run 90 metres to score, almost an identical try to the one he scored I Game I. He then converted his own try.
After half an hour, NSW had almost made double the amount of tackles as Queensland, with the Maroons having dominated possession and field position. Munster put in a grubber that very nearly saw Slater score. It hit the upright and the Blues reel it in. However the play came back to where Maloney stopped in the way of Slater who was running through. Maloney was sent to the sin bin and Holmes kicked the penalty goal.
The Blues though fought back two quick tries just before the break. A Munster long ball was intercepted by Tom Trbojevic, who raced 90 metres to score. Cleary converted.
From the kick off, Queensland gave away a penalty and the Blues stormed up to their line. From dummy half, Cook drew McGuire and then passed to Tedesco who waltzed over for a soft try. Cleary converted from right in front, giving NSW a surprising half time lead, given they'd spent most of the first half defending and were down to 12 men.
Queensland levelled the scores 11 minutes into the second half when they shifted the ball right where Chambers put Holmes over in the corner for a try. Holmes failed to convert from touch.
Just 6 minutes later and Queensland were in again off the back of some brilliant work by Munster. He threw a dummy, stepped in-field, shrugged off two lazy defenders and then passed to Cooper, who then passed back to Cherry Evans who raced away to score under the posts. Holmes converted from right in front.
The final 20 minutes saw the Blues players out on their feet and the game started to open up, however both sides were guilty of the occasional dumb play or poor pass. The game ended with no change to the scoreline, Queensland getting home 18-12.
The evening finished with NSW lifting the Origin shield, although the rugby league world was left perplexed by the decision name retiring Maroons great Billy Slater as Man of the Series having played just two games - one of them in which his side lost. Nonetheless, Slater goes out a winner in his final match and celebrates an incredible rep career.
NSW Origin winners, two games to one.
Queensland 18 - New South Wales 12
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Halftime Score: Queensland 8 New South Wales 12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Daly Cherry-Evans
2 points - Valentine Holmes
1 points - Tom Trbojevic
Tries: Valentine Holmes (2), Daly Cherry-Evans
Conversions: Valentine Holmes (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Valentine Holmes (1/1)
NEW SOUTH WALES (12)
Tries: Tom Trbojevic, James Tedesco
Conversions: Nathan Cleary (2/2)