Qld defeats NSW in first Origin clash

An unconvincing New South Wales came within four points of Queensland in last night’s State of Origin game. But questions remain about NSW’s final try, which was awarded by the video referee despite an apparent knock-on by scorer Ben Creagh.

NSW’s Jared Hayne scored early, but Queensland soon equalised in the filthy, driving rain of the first half, which caused plenty of ball-handling errors. NSW scored a penalty goal soon afterwards but that was the last time in the game they were to take the lead.

When NSW fumbled the ball while being tackled in their own half Billy Slater collected a precise kick off the side of Jonathan Thurston’s boot and crossed the line, and Queensland took a 12-8 lead to the half-time break after a successful conversion.

Queensland outclassed NSW in the second half. While each team scored three tries, Queensland pounced on opportunities while NSW looked shaky. Darren Lockyer scored a four-pointer for Queensland when his team grabbed a fresh set of six tackles after a kick rebounded off a NSW player.

Meanwhile NSW made silly mistakes in the slippery conditions, throwing the ball into touch on the full, and throwing a pass at the feet of a player who wasn’t looking at the ball but pointing in another direction.

Even Anthony Watmough’s try for NSW, grabbing hold of a ball spilled by Lyon in mid-kick, wasn’t enough to change the impression that NSW were not firing at all. The final four tries, including Creagh’s final questionable one, showed Queensland to be on a streak of confidence, setting the pace and forcing New South Wales to chase them.

Queensland’s kicking game was superb. Both Lockyer and Thurston showed coolness and skill as they performed precision banana-kicks that put the ball exactly where they wanted. NSW will need to find a way to counter that if they have a hope of winning the second match at Brisbane’s Lang Park on June 16.

Final Score: Qld 28 d NSW 24
Tries: Qld: Boyd, Slater, Lockyer, Inglis, Thaiday – NSW: Hayne, Watmough, Idris, Creagh
Goals: Qld: Thurston 4 (5 attempts), NSW: Lyon 4 (5 attempts) (1 penalty goal)

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