League: Blues close to breaking Origin streak

By David Skipwith

Queensland and New South Wales clash during game one of the State of Origin in Brisbane. Photo / Getty
Queensland and New South Wales clash during game one of the State of Origin in Brisbane. Photo / Getty

Queensland 8
New South Wales 12

New South Wales took a giant stride towards ending Queensland's eight-year reign as State of Origin champions by claiming a stunning game one victory at Suncorp Stadium.

Fullback Jarryd Hayne was instrumental in his side's win - their first in Brisbane since 2005 - with the Parramatta custodian setting up the Blues' first try to right wing Brett Morris, and scoring their second through sheer individual brilliance.

Player ratings for NSW and Queensland

The scene is now set for Laurie Daley's side to return to ANZ Stadium for the return game on June 18 with the chance to wrap the series up in front of their long-suffering fans.

Queensland had started the match positively and opened the scoring in just the fourth minute through left wing Darius Boyd, but they failed to go on with the job and dropped their intensity to see New South Wales take a 10-4 lead into halftime.

The Maroons, for so long renowned for their composure and Houdini-like ability to get out of trouble, looked rattled and distracted by perceived refereeing injustices, while the relentless Blues attack just kept coming.

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The second half saw the Blues edge further in front with a cheap Trent Hodkinson penalty in front of the posts, but the Maroons lifted to see Boyd run in his second try to leave them four adrift as the game approached the final quarter.

Inspired Maroons attack was matched by desperate Blues defence throughout the final stages, but uncharacteristic errors from Queensland's senior men allowed the Blues to cling on and complete one of the biggest boil-overs in Origin history.

. Brett Morris scores for the Blues. Photo / Getty Images

Earlier, Queensland's strong start had pointed to a familiar pattern, but the home side's luck changed dramatically when halfback Cooper Cronk was forced from the field with a broken arm.

His replacement Daly Cherry-Evans was a willing competitor but his combination with Thurston failed to fire, while Hodkinson, Josh Reynolds and Hayne dictated much of the Blues' plans.

Heavy involvement from Hayne ensured the Blues did not retreat into their shells after Boyd's first score and effective kicking allowed them to apply attacking pressure over three repeat sets.

After several threatening touches, it was Hayne's explosive pace that allowed him to put Josh Morris away down the right edge before he passed inside to send in his brother to level things up.

Darius Boyd scored twice in Queensland's defeat. Photo / Getty Images

Ill-discipline then hurt the Maroons' cause with a last-tackle penalty giving Hodkinson a shot at goal to edge his side in front.

With their tails up, the Blues continued to dominate territory and possession with their forwards defending with vigor and managing off-loads to create second-phase chances.
Five-eighth Reynolds typified the southerners' aggressive approach when he was involved in a dangerous cartwheel tackle on Queensland wing Brent Tate.

Referee Shayne Hayne's decision to place the Bulldogs playmaker on report, when it could well have been deemed worthy of a send-off in a regular NRL match, suggested there is indeed one set of rules for club football and another set for Origin matches.

Queensland's frustrations grew further on the back of two more errors, which allowed the visitors to extend their lead when Hayne, ever the opportunist, wrestled past the defence to plant the ball down and make it 10-6 seven minutes from the break.

Hayne continued to put his hand up after the break, and whether it was defusing towering bombs, cutting through the defence, or assisting his halves with long clearing kicks, he did it all in a complete and first-rate individual display befitting of the 100th Origin clash.

Queensland 8 (Boyd 2 tries)
New South Wales 12 (Brett Morris, Jarryd Hayne tries; Trent Hodkinson 2 pens)

- NZ Herald

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