The New South Wales Blues have finally ended the eight year dominance of the Queensland Maroons beating the series defenders in a gutsy 6 – 4 win at ANZ Stadium in Game II to snare the 2014 shield.
After going into the opener three weeks ago as the underdogs, the Laurie Daley-coached team held firm in defense to win Game I 12 – 8.
Then last night in front of a sellout crowd of 83,421 Blues supporters in Sydney they did it again with a one-try-to-none thriller.
Game 2 Results
- ANZ Stadium 18/06/2014
- New South Wales (6) beat Queensland (4)
- Crowd: 83,421
- NSW Try Scorer: Trent Hodkinson
- NSW Goal: Trent Hodkinson
- QLD Penalties: Johnathan Thurston (2)
- Half-Time Result: 4-0 QLD
- Man Of the Match: Paul Gallen (NSW)
The result saw Daley, 44, become just the second man after Wayne Pearce to both captain and then later coach New South Wales to an Origin series win.
“Our guys deserve to enjoy the moment. I am so happy for these blokes to get to experience what so many people have for NSW,” Daley said post-match.
“This team will always be remembered as the team that stopped this great Queensland team.”
Queensland posted the only first half points going into the 40 minute break in front 4 – 0 after two Johnathan Thurston penalty kicks.
JT then finished the game with a total of 162 Origin points scored giving him the all-time record as he went past his coach Mal Meninga in his 29th straight Origin game.
There were no tries scored however, and very little actual football played as the two teams battled for bragging rights getting up in each others faces with plenty of pushing and shoving.
Things nearly exploded a few times and there were errors a plenty from the eventual winners.
The backs were kept pretty much out of play completely with all the work done up front from a gutsy, hard-working front row in both squads.
The Jarryd Hayne plane then was kept in the hangar for the most part, although he did handle the pressure with a couple of nice takes when needed.
Then just after 10 minutes into the second half he pulled something out that, in the end, won the Blues the fixture and the series for the first time since 2005.
Former Broncos skipper Sam Thaiday, back after missing the first Origin match due to injury, charged over the line for what looked to be a definite try.
The ref called in the video decision however stating interference.
While no interference was found, the ‘No Try’ call was held after the video showed Hayne knocking the ball loose and Thaiday unable to re-gather in time to put it down.
Hayne also took down Justin Hodges, who looked threatening a couple of times, just before the first half was over when Thurston sent him through a gap before Hayne swooped.
Fans then had to watch more of the toing and froing until 20 minutes later when New South Wales’ No. 7 Trent Hodkinson scored their only try after he dummied and bolted through the line with less than 10 minutes to go.
He also converted in the most important kick of his career to take the Blues up to 6 – 4, a score that held until the final whistle blow when Hayne through the ball out into the ecstatic crowd.
It was a devastatingly State Of Origin result for the Queenslanders whose reign came to a sad end.
However it’s not all over just yet with Game III still left to play when the Maroons host the series winners at Suncorp Stadium on July 9, the Blues looking to secure their first 3-0 whitewash since 2000.
Blues’ captain Paul Gallen, who earned Man of the Match honors, will then be the first NSW skipper since Andrew Johns back in 2005 to hold up the Origin shield at the end of that match.
“Thinking about it now I don’t think it’s going to be real good,” Gallen said of having to accept the shield in front of a likely hostile Queensland crowd next month.
“I don’t expect many cheers, but it will feel good for me.”
Blues are set to start hot favourites in Origin 3 at Ladbrokes.com.au, but there will be a couple of enforced changes to the New South Wales team for the final.
Back-rower Anthony Watmough will likely be out after getting hit with a grade two dangers throw against Nate Myles in the second half, a three week suspension on the cards if he pleads guilty.
Josh Reynolds (Blues) and Thurston (Maroons) also went on report for head-butts.
Eels centre Will Hopoate, who came in for Game 2 after the Morris twins were injured in the first and ruled out, is also a chance of missing out of another run after hurting his shoulder just before halftime.
“Hoppa had a couple of needles at halftime but it was not good,” Daley said.
“He showed great courage to stay on – it was just like the Morris boys did in game one.”
Queensland also didn’t escape injury free.
Winger Brent Tate, whose body had been hit with more horrific injuries (neck and three knee reconstructions) than most, left the field 56 minutes in with another bad leg injury.
Matt Scott was also out just 25 minutes in with a fractured cheekbone.
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