League: First blood to Queensland

Johnathan Thurston of the Maroons celebrates with team mates after scoring the opening try of the match. Photo / Getty Images
Johnathan Thurston of the Maroons celebrates with team mates after scoring the opening try of the match. Photo / Getty Images

Queensland 16 New South Wales 12
Queensland are in the box seat to win a sixth straight State of Origin title after defeating New South Wales in game one in Brisbane on Wednesday night.

The superstar trio of Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater led Queensland to a 16-12 victory at Suncorp Stadium in a match that didn't spark until midway through the second half when three tries were scored in eight minutes.

Queensland opened the scoring in just the fifth minute when Thurston pounced on a Cameron Smith grubber and converted his own try to give the Maroons a 6-0 lead. They had plenty of chances to extend their lead but the resilient New South Wales defence held strong before the visitors finished the half the stronger side, however also failing to cross the line.

Queensland winger Jharal Yow Yeh repeated his Kangaroos debut last month by scoring in his first Origin match, crossing over in the 46th minute after Brett Morris made a hash of a Cooper Cronk grubber and it looked like the flood gates were set to open.

Thurston missed a penalty shot from in front which would have made it 12-0 and New South Wales pounced, scoring two tries within four minutes with first Mitchell Pearce and then Michael Jennings crossing over to put the Blues in the lead up 12-10.

But just when it looked like New South Wales were set to get a rare away win, the Thurston, Lockyer, Slater combination had one final say as they worked their magic to send Slater across the line for the match winning try with seven minutes remaining.

Thurston converted and New South Wales never looked close to troubling Queensland again.

QUEENSLAND 16 (B Slater J Thurston J Yow Yeh tries J Thurston 2 goals) bt NEW SOUTH WALES 12 (M Jennings M Pearce tries J Soward 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Tony Archer, Jared Maxwell. Crowd: 52,144.

- HERALD ONLINE

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