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Masterful Maroons leave Blues behind the eightball

Date

Nsw 10 Queensland 12

Glenn Jackson

Johnathon Thurston on the run. Click for more photos

State of Origin - Game III

All the action from game three of State of Origin, 2013 - NSW Blues vs the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Photo: Brendan Esposito

''It's gr8 m8, 8 St8 of Origins in a row.''

Get set to endure another 12 months of texts and tweets like that after the Maroons extended their Origin domination to eight consecutive series wins.

Watched by an ANZ Stadium record crowd of 83,812, the Blues came so close to ending the streak but again fell agonisingly short as they did when a Cooper Cronk field goal decided last year's series.

In the end, discipline cost NSW as the Maroons' two tries to Johnathan Thurston and Justin Hodges - the best player on the field - came on the back of penalties.

A 13th-minute Thurston penalty goal ultimately proved the difference between the two teams in what proved to be another epic battle that was thankfully devoid of controversy after the brawling that had marred the two opening matches.

Early on, the signs had looked ominous for another comfortable Queensland win as the Blues gave away silly penalties and turned over possession.

Mitchell Pearce, who had declared that his Origin career was likely to be over if he couldn't steer NSW to a series win, set the tone when he dropped his first touch of the ball in the third minute.

Worse was to come when Greg Bird conceded a blatant penalty for holding down Sam Thaiday on halfway six minutes later and Thurston stepped his way over for the opening try.

Blues skipper Robbie Farah complained that he had been impeded from getting to Thurston by Nate Myles but the reality was poor NSW defence had allowed the Maroons five-eighth to score.

Another penalty, this time against Blues five-eighth James Maloney for shouldering Cooper Cronk after a kick, enabled Thurston to extend the lead to 8-0 in the 13th minute and the match appeared destined to go the way of Origin II when Queensland led 14-0 after 17 minutes.

As the NSW players headed back to halfway for another kick-off, the tackle counts of the respective teams were 57-to-38 - meaning the Maroons had enjoyed more than three sets of additional possession to the Blues.

But the match changed with the injection of forwards Anthony Watmough and Andrew Fifita from the interchange bench and the Blues finished the first half on top everywhere but the scoreboard.

Remarkably, the penalty count at the interval was 6-2 in favour of NSW and the errors were even at four apiece.

What those statistics don't show is how the Blues failed to take their opportunities as they threw wayward passes or dropped the ball to let Queensland off the hook.

After Farah had regained the ball from his own kick after a Billy Slater knock-on near the Maroons' line, the next pass went to no-one and NSW lost possession.

A Maloney kick put down by Greg Inglis also provided the Blues with no real advantage after Luke Lewis lost the ball on zero tackle.

James McManus finally put the Blues on the board in the 25th minute after back-to-back penalties against Queensland when he finished off a sweeping movement involving Pearce, fullback Josh Dugan and Josh Morris.

But McManus was denied a second try just two before half-time when his wing opposite Darius Boyd just managed to get downward pressure on a Farah grubber kick bouncing in the Maroons' in-goal.

There were more wasted opportunities for the Blues early in the second half, with Dugan being unable to hold a Fifita off-load as he sped into the clear and Michael Jennings twice dropping the ball.

Queensland deserve credit for their defence to hold NSW out through sustained periods before and after half-time, and Hodges was a key figure in snuffing out several try-scoring opportunities for the Blues.

The 31-year-old centre deservedly crossed for the match-winning try in the 64th minute after running onto a perfectly timed pass from Cronk.

Blues prop Trent Merrin scored in the 71st minute but Queensland held on to win.

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PAR vs BRI 20:05Pirtek
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MAN vs CBY 20:05BO
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CBR vs PEN 15:00GIO
WST vs NZW 17:30CSS
NQL vs CRO 19:301300
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SYD vs SOU 16:00AS
GCT vs NEW 18:30Cbus
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SYD vs MAN 19:30AS
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STG vs PEN 16:00WIN
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NQL vs STG 19:301300
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PEN vs NQL 19:30Pepp
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CBY vs NZW 17:30Westpac Stadium
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CBY vs GCT 15:00ANZ
CBR vs WST 17:30GIO
NQL vs PAR 19:301300
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO vs PEN 16:00Shark Park
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NEW vs MAN 14:00HS
STG vs SYD 16:00AS
MEL vs NZW 19:00AAMI
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Round 9
Thu, 28 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU vs WST 19:50ANZ
PAR vs CBY 19:50ANZ
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CBR 15:00Carrington Park
SYD vs NEW 17:30CCS
MAN vs NQL 19:30BO
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW vs STG 12:00MSS
GCT vs MEL 14:00Cbus
CRO vs BRI 16:00Shark Park
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Round 10
Thu, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
STG vs CBR 19:50Jubilee Oval
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR vs SOU 19:50Pirtek
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN vs NZW 15:00AMI Stadium
MEL vs NQL 17:30SUN
MAN vs BRI 19:30SUN
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
WST vs CBY 16:00ANZ
Mon, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT vs SYD 19:00Cbus
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Round 11
Thu, 19 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU vs STG 19:50ANZ
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
NQL vs BRI 19:501300
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
WST vs NEW 15:00CSS
NZW vs CBR 17:30Yarrow Stadium
CRO vs MAN 19:30Shark Park
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN vs GCT 14:00Pepp
CBY vs SYD 16:00ANZ
Mon, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR vs MEL 19:00Pirtek
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Round 12
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WST 19:50SUN
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CBY 16:00GIO
Mon, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW vs PAR 19:00HS
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Round 13
Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR vs MAN 19:50GIO
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs BRI 15:00MSS
NQL vs NEW 17:301300
MEL vs PEN 19:30AAMI
Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WST 16:00AS
SOU vs GCT 18:30nib Stadium
Mon, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs CRO 19:00ANZ
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Round 14
Thu, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBR 19:50SUN
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
WST vs SOU 19:50ANZ
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs NZW 15:00HS
PAR vs GCT 17:30TIO
SYD vs MEL 19:30AS
Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN vs PEN 16:00BO
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
STG vs CBY 16:00ANZ
CRO vs NQL 19:00Shark Park
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SOU vs PAR 19:50ANZ
Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
STG vs MEL 19:30WIN
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NZW vs SYD 16:00MSS
Mon, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus
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PEN vs SOU 19:50Pepp
Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs STG 15:00HS
CRO vs NZW 17:30Shark Park
CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT vs CBR 14:00Cbus
MEL vs WST 16:00AAMI
Mon, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NQL vs MAN 19:001300
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Round 17
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Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
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WST vs PEN 17:30ANZ
CRO vs PAR 19:30Shark Park
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NEW 14:00GIO
SOU vs NQL 16:00Barlow Park
Mon, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs STG 19:00BO
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Round 18
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR vs SYD 19:50Pirtek
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
CBY vs WST 19:30ANZ
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CRO 16:00Pepp
Mon, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NQL 19:00GIO
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Round 19
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
STG vs GCT 19:50Jubilee Oval
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
SOU vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NEW vs MEL 14:00HS
PEN vs PAR 16:00Pepp
Mon, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CRO 19:00AS
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Round 20
Thu, 21 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs CBY 19:501300
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs PEN 19:50SUN
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NZW 15:00GIO
GCT vs PAR 17:30Cbus
MEL vs SYD 19:30AAMI
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CRO vs NEW 14:00Shark Park
STG vs WST 16:00ANZ
Mon, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
SOU vs MAN 19:00ANZ
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Round 21
Wed, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs PEN 22:00MSS
Thu, 28 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
CBY vs STG 00:00ANZ
GCT vs CRO 00:00Cbus
PAR vs WST 00:00ANZ
SOU vs CBR 00:00ANZ
MAN vs NEW 00:00BO
NQL vs MEL 00:001300
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Round 22
Thu, 04 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs BRI 00:00WIN
PAR vs MAN 00:00Pirtek
CRO vs CBR 00:00Shark Park
NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
MEL vs SOU 00:00AAMI
GCT vs NZW 00:00Cbus
WST vs NQL 00:00VAS
PEN vs SYD 00:00Pepp
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Round 23
Wed, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs SOU 22:00MSS
Thu, 11 AugTimes shown AEST
CBY vs MAN 00:00ANZ
BRI vs PAR 00:00SUN
WST vs GCT 00:00CSS
STG vs CRO 00:00Jubilee Oval
NEW vs PEN 00:00HS
SYD vs NQL 00:00AS
CBR vs MEL 00:00GIO
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Round 24
Thu, 18 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
SYD vs STG 00:00AS
NEW vs GCT 00:00HS
NQL vs NZW 00:001300
MAN vs MEL 00:00BO
CBR vs PAR 00:00GIO
PEN vs WST 00:00Pepp
SOU vs CRO 00:00ANZ
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Round 25
Wed, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs WST 22:00MSS
Thu, 25 AugTimes shown AEST
CBY vs NQL 00:00Belmore Sports Ground
MEL vs BRI 00:00AAMI
GCT vs PEN 00:00Cbus
MAN vs CBR 00:00BO
CRO vs SYD 00:00Shark Park
NEW vs SOU 00:00HS
PAR vs STG 00:00Pirtek
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Round 26
Wed, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs PAR 22:00MSS
Thu, 01 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 00:00SUN
CBY vs SOU 00:00ANZ
STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
NQL vs GCT 00:001300
MEL vs CRO 00:00AAMI
WST vs CBR 00:00VAS
PEN vs MAN 00:00Pepp
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