A revived New South Wales Blues outfit pulled out a lightning second half burst in last night’s State of Origin 2012 Game 2 in Sydney to beat the Queensland Maroons and send the series to a decider in Brisbane for Game 3 on July 4.
After going down to the experienced and professional Queenslanders in Melbourne for Game 1 the boys from south of the Tweed showed they could execute a win and not just dream of one when they held on in a thriller to win 16 – 12 in front of a capacity crowd of 83,110 at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night.
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It was a stirring performance from the Ricky Stuart-coached Blues who started favourites in the State of Origin betting markets at bookmaker.com.au for game two.
All eyes will now be on the decider and whether Queensland will be able to bounce back after going down in the second as they did 12 months ago and secure their incredible seventh straight series success, something that won’t come easily for the canetoads according to Stuart.
“We have proved we can win Origin games,” Stuart said.
“Now we have to prove, to ourselves more than anyone else, that we can win an Origin series.”
The Blues got off to a winning start with ace fullback Brett Stewart posting first points last night 26 minutes in before a rousing try right on the half time siren from Queenslander Ben Hannant, thanks to a tricky flat bomb from Cooper Cronk that NSW winger Akulia Uate let bounce, which saw NSW trail 4 – 6 going into the break.
However two tries in the opening eight minutes of the second half and a two point penalty conversion ensured NSW had a lead that would prove too hard to run down thanks to Stewart making it a double before the flying Josh Morris crossed the line after a beautiful break by Jarryd Hayne.
Both of the Blues second halfers were thanks to the game being played 13 on 12 with Queenslander Cronk spending 10 minutes in the sin bin after pulling Todd Carney back in the in-goal area in the 42nd minute illegally stopping a certain Blues’ try.
“Being one man down cost us dearly,” Queensland coach Mal Meninga said.
As always things went down to the wire with Queensland putting themselves back into the game with Origin’s highest ever points scorer Greg Inglis getting over for try No. 14 with 18 minutes left on the clock.
But it wasn’t enough.
Last night was an expectedly brutal battle, especially the opening 40, with injuries a plenty.
The Brisbane Broncos will be without another star for their big clash with the Cowboys on Friday night with Corey Parker requiring surgery for a nasty cut to his let suffered in Origin II.
Melbourne fullback Billy Slater will also undergo scans after injuring his knee, the brave No. 1 fighting on until the end despite being in obvious pain.
So how will Origin affect the NRL Round 15 betting markets at bookmaker.com.au this weekend?
And will the Blues open favourites to score an upset series win next month for when the final 2012 State of Origin odds are released?
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2012 State of Origin Game 2 Results & Match Break-Down
- Score: NSW Blues 16 – 12 QLD Maroons
- Man of the Match: Robbie Farah (NSW)
- Blues Tries: Brett Stewart (25th min, 44th min), Josh Morris (48th min)
- Blues Conversions: Todd Carney (45th min)
- Blues Penalty Goal: Todd Carney (43rd minute)
- Maroons Tries: Ben Hannant (39th min), Greg Inglis (62nd minute)
- Maroons Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (40th min, 63rd min)
- NSW Most Metres Run: Josh Morris (154m)
- QLD Most Metres Run: Billy Slater (180m)
- NSW Most Tackles: Robbie Farah (63)
- QLD Most Tackles: Nate Myles (48)