NSW captain Paul Gallen lauded his team’s courage and five-eighth Josh Reynolds declared Wednesday night’s historic 12-8 win as the toughest game of his life as the Blues recorded their first win in a series opener at Suncorp Stadium since 2003. ‘‘I am buggered, that is something I have never been through before,’’ Reynolds said. ‘‘I have never been through that sort of pain, It is the hardest game I have been in and full credit to the boys.’’
Gallen praised the Blues for hanging on in the dying minutes after a controversial decision by referee Shayne Hayne to award a scrum to Queensland on the NSW line. ‘‘That was an unbelievable defensive effort, we hung in there,’’ Gallen said. ‘‘They had some calls go their way but we managed to hold them out. It was a great effort. They had a couple of injuries and I think we had some injuries.’’
NSW coach Laurie Daley now faces a selection headache for Origin II, with Test stars Greg Bird and Andrew Fifita set to return to the team for the June 18 clash at ANZ Stadium. Bird missed Wednesday night’s series opener due to a two-match suspension for a lifting tackle but his ban has now expired and the 29-year-old Gold Coast back-rower is a certain selection for the Blues team.
Fifita is also set to come into the NSW team as the Blues attempt to seal an historic series win after making a faster than expected recovery from a high ankle sprain suffered just over two weeks ago. The Test prop was in a moon boot and getting around on a custom-made scooter last week but is expected to make his return for Cronulla in round 13