The magnificent and all-conquering Queensland Maroons have surpassed their own incredible record of consecutive State of Origin series wins snaring the 2012 shield with a thrilling one point victory over a gallant New South Wales Blues 21 – 20 at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
In a beautiful State Of Origin send off for retiring warhorse Petero Civoniceva the home squad held on until the very end with a deft field goal from hero halfback Cooper Cronk from 40-metres out sealing the deal with four minutes left on the clock.
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Mal Meninga-coached winners proved themselves once and for all as the best Queensland Maroons team in Origin history and came one year closer to Meninga’s prediction of 10 straight series wins.
“It is a special win,” Meninga said.
“The first thing I want to say is what a champion football side. To win seven in a row, it takes something special.
“You have to understand the enormity of the challenge, going in every time as favourites, trying to keep that winning streak going. It takes a lot of effort. Because of that effort we’re in there celebrating.”
First points posted were by the Blues with Todd Carney’s successful penalty kick seven minutes into the do-or-die decider.
The Cockroaches were also first to score a four-pointer with flying winger Brett Morris, included in Game 3 at the expense of Akuila Uate, got over 12 minutes in to give them an eight nil advantage.
Queensland fought back with Darius Boyd crossing seven minutes later before the Cowboys’ Johnathan Thurston, whose exceptional 80-minute performance earned him Man of the Match honours and saw him equal the record with 24 consecutive games for the Maroons, scoring a well-deserved 32nd minute try which he then converted to take Queensland to a 10 – 8 lead.
Just to give the home crowd something to cheer about before half-time Justin Hodges went over again just three minutes later for what would turn out to be the Maroon’s final try of the evening.
They headed to the sheds eight points clear of the Blues.
In the second half the boys from the other side of the Tweed showed they weren’t going to give up another series easily, Brett Stewart first to score in the 47th minute, Carney’s successful conversion making it a two point game.
Two penalty kicks from JT in the 51st and 64th minute off Blues errors however saw the eventual winners soar ahead again, the scoreboard now at 19 – 14.
Then with only 10 minutes left of the game the other Morris brother Josh matched the performance of his identical twin with his own New South Wales try, converted by Carney, tied the match 20 all and had every footy fan on the edge of their seats.
Cronk eventually put everyone out of their misery with his match-winning kick.
“You don’t really think too much. The clock’s winding down,” Cronk said of the kick.
“It’s why you do the practice, I think.”
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2012 State of Origin Game 3 Results & Match Break Down
Score: QLD 21 – 20 NSW
Man of the Match: Johnathan Thurston (QLD)
Man of the Series (Wally Lewis Medal): Nate Myles (QLD)
- QLD: Darius Boyd (19min), Johanthan Thurston (32min), Justin Hodges (35min)
- NSW: Brett Morris (12min), Brett Stewart (47min), Josh Morris (70min)
- QLD: Johanthan Thurston (33min & 37min)
- NSW: Todd Carney (14min, 48min & 71min)
Penalty Goals –
- QLD: Johanthan Thurston (51min & 64min)
- NSW: Todd Carney (7min)
Field Goals –
- QLD: Cooper Cronk (75min)
- QLD: 30/35
- NSW: 28/34
Metres Run –
- QLD: 1460m
- Best Player QLD: Greg Inglis (212m)
- NSW: 1287m
- Best Player NSW: Brett Morris (164m)
- QLD: 335
- Best Player QLD: Corey Parker (42 tackles)
- NSW: 335
- Best Player/s NSW: Paul Gallen & Robbie Farah (54 tackles each)