A one-point field goal was the only thing between a win and a draw at last night’s State of Origin opener, which saw Queensland walk away with bragging rights.
Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk slotted the winning field goal in the 74th minute, after the Blues had passed up the chance to take an attempt.
After an all-or-nothing first half, with Morris taking the first try for the Blues, NSW nodded off in the second leading to a communication failure from the halves which let their opponents get one up on them.
Despite Cronk’s star performance, his Cowboys team-mate Cameron Smith took Man of the Match for a tormenting game all night. The captain’s quick plays from dummy half kept NSW on its toes, one even getting through leading to a try by Cronk.
Aaron Woods was the best forward on the field, a one of NSW’s best players of the evening, laying an enormous 32 tackles. But the top tackler was Blues skipper Robbie Farah, who produced 50 while playing with a bung shoulder for 53 minutes.
One of the defining moments of the game was Johnathan Thurston’s missed penalty goal.
With just 10 minutes left on the clock, Queensland opted for a 45-metre long-range shot at goal rather than kicking for touch and attacking the Blues’ line.
It was a surprising choice from the team, which commentator suggested was a sign that they had given all that they could.
This shows the Blues were giving as good as they got, and should not be doubted just yet.
As well as a point on the scoreboard, Queensland have also won the all-important mental battle, and is now able to take the added confidence of a win into Game Two.
For the first time in 18 years, a State of Origin match will be held at the MCG on June 17.
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