NSW Secure State Of Origin Game 1 in 22-12 Victory
NSW may have fielded the most debutantes in decades, but the Baby Blues have claimed victory over the Queensland Maroons in Origin 1.
What you need to know
- 17' Penalty Goal -- James Maloney (NSW)
- 21' Try -- James Tedesco (NSW)
- 22' Conversion -- James Maloney (NSW)
- 27' Try -- Valentine Holmes (QLD)
- 29' Conversion -- Valentine Holmes (QLD)
- 42' Try -- Dane Gagai (QLD)
- 44' Conversion -- Valentine Holmes (QLD)
- 47' Try -- Latrell Mitchell (NSW)
- 50' Try -- Tom Trbojevic (NSW)
- 50' Conversion -- James Maloney (NSW)
- 68' Try -- Josh Addo-Carr (NSW)
After weeks of build-up, the first game for the 2018 Origin series has been played, and in front of a 87,122-strong crowd at the MCG -- it delivered.
Brad Fittler's NSW Blues took out a 22-12 win over the Queensland Maroons in a feisty series opener.
After the Maroons had defended their line for most of the first 15 minutes, Dylan Napa gave a penalty away for holding in a tackle, giving way for James Maloney to kick for two. NSW had drawn the first blood.
In the 18th minute Felise Kaufusi had a break down the wing for the Queenslanders, but a dropped ball by Will Chambers soon put a stop that.
It turned out to be a costly mistake, when just three minutes later, the Blues ran in a 50 metre try. Making a run out of dummy-half, Damien Cook linked up with Maloney for a line break, before James Tedesco provided support and was sent on his way with a wonderfully-timed pass.
A riled-up Maroons skipper Greg Inglis put in a BIG hit on Tom Trbojevic, which sent the blood pumping and tempers flaring in the middle.
But it seemed to be the spark the Maroons needed, when Valentine Holmes caught an intercept and ran the length of the field to put QLD on the board.
From here the Maroons dominated play with a few nervy moments from the young NSW side as they defended their half for consecutive sets.
The Blues were given a lucky break when Dane Gagai was ruled to have put it into touch inside the goal. But a mistake from NSW captain Boyd Cordner soon had them defending their line again.
And because it's Origin, a push-and-shove was to be expected on the half-time siren.
After taking a while to get going, QLD dominated the latter stages of the half, NSW would have been happy to head to the sheds to regroup and find the form they showed in the first 25 minutes.
The Blues looked to have started the second half the same way they ended the first, when Maloney sent a pass forward in the first set of the half.
On the other side of the field, the Maroons came out flying, with Dane Gagai -- who was in doubt for this match with a compound dislocation of his finger -- taking just two minutes to get himself on the try-scorers list. The Bunker made its first appearance of the night, but all was good for the fired-up Queenslanders.
The Blues replied in the 47th minute, when Latrell Mitchell was too strong for the defence line and steamrolled his way over the line. A slight delay when the decision was sent to the Bunker, but Ben Hunt was ruled to have made a "defensive decision" to aim for Cordner, and the try was awarded. A hooked conversion was waved away, and the scores were locked at 12-all.
But the it didn't stay that way for long, when a break by Tedesco put the Blues on the front foot. Just two plays later Maloney placed a kick perfectly to put a leaping Tom Trbojevic over for another four-pointer. A third referral to the Bunker confirmed he held on to the ball and the Blues were back in the lead.
QLD looked threatening for the next passage of play, keeping NSW confined to their half and an inspired Inglis finding holes in the Blues' defence.
However it was Tedesco who got the break, running through a patchy QLD defensive line before a team effort put a flying Josh Addo-Carr over the try-line in the corner.
Ten points down and only six minutes to go, Ben Hunt kept hope alive for the Maroons with a perfectly placed 40-20, but was wasted by a Gavin Cooper error.
The Blues seemed to have wrapped-up the game in the 77th minute, but the Bunker ruled Latrell Mitchell failed to ground the ball in the in-goal, denying the centre his second try for the night.
With the finish line in sight, NSW rallied and almost sent Addo-Carr over again, but a final visit to the Bunker ruled he lost the ball.
With the wind taken out of their sails, the Maroons couldn't find the spark in the final minutes that on so many occasions has won them games.
After a game that swung in domination throughout, the final siren sounded, and the NSW Blues had taken out Origin 1.