Qld win eight straight Origin series
State of Origin's greatest ever dynasty maintained its charge towards a decade of dominance after Queensland secured a remarkable eighth-straight series victory with a 12-10 win in Wednesday night's decider.
Qld win eight straight Origin seriesby AAP
SYDNEY, July 17 AAP - State of Origin's greatest ever dynasty maintained its charge towards a decade of dominance after Queensland secured a remarkable eighth-straight series victory with a 12-10 win in Wednesday night's decider.
Hammered in the penalty count before a game three record crowd of 83,813 at ANZ Stadium, the qualities which had carried the Maroons to seven series wins came to the fore against a NSW side which failed to make the most of a number of chances.
The Maroons weren't as forgiving, their three scoring plays including the crucial Justin Hodges try just after the hour mark all coming on the back of the only penalties they had received to that point.
Even when Trent Merrin scored to close the gap to just two points nine minutes from time, Queensland stood firm, and not even the controversial intervention of a streaker - whose length of the field run denied Maroons prop Matt Scott a try - could deny them their first win in Sydney since 2010.
The Blues paid dearly for failing to make the most of their chances, halfback Mitchell Pearce again doing little to convince his critics he's the answer for the Blues who won't have two games in Sydney again until 2016.
By that time the Maroons could have stretched their run to a full decade.
"We spoke out there when they scored that last try under the posts, that's what this state's built on, that's what this team's built on is finding it in these situations and the boys did a great job to hold on," Maroons captain Cameron Smith said.
"If there were any 50-50 calls they were more than likely going to go the Blues way.
"In the first game we didn't handle it so well when the penalties went against us ... but tonight we said the only way we're going to achieve what we want to achieve is doing it by ourselves."
Added Johnathan Thurston:
"The hard work that we've put in eight in a row, it's a feeling that I can't describe."
Blues coach Laurie Daley admitted his side had its chances. "We were courageous but when you play this team you have to be clinical," Daley said.
"We have to be better across the park. We have been talking about it for eight years now - we can't keep talking about it."
Blues skipper Robbie Farah concurred.
"When you work so hard for something and you fall short it's heartbreaking," he said.
"We weren't clinical enough.
"Against this side you've got to take your chances - some passes didn't stick, we had our chances."
In a game which was on a knife's edge for much of the contest, the Maroons jumped out of the gates quickest when Thurston ducked past both Blues props to dive over next to the posts.
He added a penalty after James Maloney shoulder charged Cooper Cronk, but the momentum quickly changed with the injection of bench forwards Anthony Watmough and Andrew Fifita, who were immense for the Blues.
Their go-forward and a string of penalties finally turned into points for the Blues when James McManus, playing his first Origin game since 2009, went over out wide - that just NSW's second try in 150 minutes of football.
Darius Boyd's fingertips saved the Maroons when he ground a ball when Josh Morris threatened, and again it was fingertip stuff when Josh Dugan spilled a Fifita ball just after the break.
Crucial knock-ons by Watmough and McManus and a poor Pearce grubber killed the Blues' momentum before a deft Cronk pass put Hodges over.
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