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It’s the time of year when Australia comes to a standstill, as Wednesday becomes Origin day, and people crack open the tinnies and don their colours for the greatest clash in world rugby league as the Maroons took on the Blues in the opening match of the 2024 State of Origin.

Queensland have won the last two series by two games to one so New South Wales were hoping for to go one up at the Accor Stadium in Sydney with the bookies finding it almost too close to call, giving the Blues a two point start on the handicap coupon.

It was Billy Slater’s New South Wales against Michael Maguire’s Queensland and the whole of Australia was holding its collective breath.

It was the perfect start for Queensland and Daly Cherry-Evans as the Maroons scrumhalf was on hand to complete, after several great passes, and scythe through the Blues defensive line to dot down for the opening try of the game just after the four-minute mark. Valentine Holmes was on target with a perfect conversion, those wearing the Maroon shirt ecstatic at the start.

On seven minutes the game took a massive turn when referee Ashley Klein sent Joseph-Aukuso Sua’ali’I to the changing rooms after a he hit Reece Walsh late and with the shoulder. NSW not had to play seventy-three minutes with a man down. The difficult had become almost impossible.

Within a minute of the sending off, Holmes extended the lead with a forty-metre penalty for 8-0.

The twelve men struck back on fifteen when Jarome Luai put in a deft cross-field grubber which was collected by James Tedesco, the NSW full back dropping over the line to score. The conversion was added by Nicholas Hynes to put the Blues back within two.

A massive numbers advantage on nineteen saw Hamiso ‘The Hammer’ Tabuai-Fidow take full advantage for the second maroons try and when Holmes added the conversion the margin of eight points was back.

Four minutes later the Hammer was in again as a three on one from the Maroons gave NSW no chance with a move from deep inside their own half. Holmes was on target again and now the Blues fans must have been fearing a cricket score.

Just before the thirty-minute mark a great defensive effort from Tabuai-Fidow prevented the ball being grounded by Spencer Leniu.

Three minutes after the restart a Hynes kick to the corner was picked out of the air by Zac Lomax and grounded despite the attention of two defenders by the right corner flag. Hynes put his kick across the face of the posts, the deficit ten points.

A Cherry-Evans 40-20 put Queensland back on the front foot on fifty-six but they coughed up the ball on the third tackle. Despite regaining possession and going over the line, the maroons couldn’t score thanks to some great defence.

With seventeen minutes remaining the maroons had another potential try ruled out after Xavier Coates is ruled to have knocked on taking a high kick, the blues hanging on in the game by their fingernails.

The game was win on sixty-seven as exhaustion took its toll on the blues. Ben Hunt went from dummy half forty from his own live and bamboozled the NSW defence as he zig-zagged his way to the line to score under the sticks. Holmes found the target for the fifth time in the game for 26-10.

A sensational try on seventy rubbed salt into the NSW wounds after a Cherry-Evans intercept and break downfield before kicking inside for Coates to dive on the ball and ground. The kick was again good for 32-10.

The winning margin was extended to twenty-eight with a sixth try of the night after a Stephen Crichton break and dummy before he put the Hammer over for his hat-trick try with a minute left on the clock. Holmes banged over the conversion for a comprehensive 38-10 win.

As soon as Sua’ali’I was shown a red card on seven minutes, game was over, and the blues were just playing at damage limitation. They did better than they could have hoped and defended their line well when there was every expectation that the flood gates would open. Queensland take an expected one game lead in the series and will be favourites to seal the series win in three weeks on June the 26th.

New South Wales: Tedesco (T), To’o, Crichton S, Sua’ali’I (SO on 7), Lomax (T), Luai, Hynes (1/2 G), Trbojevic, Robson, Haas, Martin, Crichton A, McInnes.  Subs: Yeo, Olakau’atu, Leniu, Young. 18th Man: Burton.

Queensland: Walsh, Coates (T), Holmes (7/7 G), Tabuai-Fidow (3T), Tualagi, Dearden, Cherry-Evans (T), Cotter, Hunt (T), Collins, Su’A, Nanai, Carrigan. Subs: Grant, Fotuaika, Hopgood, Cobbo. 18th Man: Kaufusi (Used). 

Half-Time: 6-20.

Full-Time: 10-38.

Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, (SO), 0-8, 4-8, 6-8, 6-12, 6-14, 6-18, 6-20 : HT: 10-20, 10-24, 10-26, 10-30, 10-32, 10-36, 10-38 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: QLD.

Referee: Ashley Klein.   

Attendance: 77,214.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 5th Jun 2024 12:52 PM | Views : 3919 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES