JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

New series, same old result for Blues

Queensland 18 NSW 10

Battered but victorious ... The Maroons take game one the State of Origin series. Click for more photos

NSW feels the Blues. Again

Queensland benefited from some dubious refereeing to take Game 1 in the Origin series 18-10 in Melbourne. Photo: Getty Images

THROUGH all of Queensland's dominance since 2006, so many matches have been won by big plays. This one turned on big decisions. No doubt, when the Maroons turned it on, they looked like a better side (it's hard to deny that they are a better side), but NSW had been winning the battle before the fight changed everything. One swing by Michael Jennings and the match was on the ropes.


And then the second one, which will also be dissected heavily. Video referee Sean Hampstead's decision to allow a Greg Inglis try with seven minutes remaining - after he had appeared to knock on after planting the ball on Robbie Farah's knee, then left their series on the ropes.

Whether Jennings's sin-binning was deserved will be fodder for debate from now until game two. What we know is this: Jennings's speed gave him a try, but his eagerness to cock his fist handed the Maroons an advantage that they clung onto. So the stadium where it all began for the Maroons, with a victory in game three of 2006, won't be where the dominance ends for the side.

The Blues now face a massive task, needing to win in Brisbane in game three - assuming the series is still live by then - to end the Maroons' streak.

Similar to last year, there were good signs for NSW. While they were a side picked with attack in mind, their defence was strong and their forwards stung. While five-eighth Todd Carney could not stamp himself on the encounter as he would have liked, Farah produced some moments to remember.

Skipper Paul Gallen, as usual, was strong, having struggled to train early in the Blues' build-up, but he recovered sufficiently from a quadriceps strain, and gave it an early test with the first hit-up.

But it was his front-row partner, James Tamou, who proved a terror.

A big brute of a man, his size troubled the Maroons.

On one of his early rumbles, which came after a Matt Scott offload gone wrong, Tamou bullied the Queenslanders and put his team on the front foot. Farah also showed his worth with the kick that gave winger Akuila Uate the first try.

The Blues were hurrying the Maroons with the ball and without it. On the Maroons' first real trip down the attacking end, Inglis attempted too much too soon and was bundled into touch by Josh Morris.

The Maroons were scrambling. But they did scramble well. When Farah darted for the line, he was held up; Scott did much of the dirty work to prevent the try.

And then The Decision. After Scott had thrown the ball at Bird, the back-rower turned to find himself surrounded by Queenslanders. For a moment, anyway. Ben Creagh, so criticised for running away from Justin Hodges in 2009, was first to protect his teammate. Jennings came quickly after that, throwing a punch.

As the scene was replayed on the big screens, Gallen could sense the problem. He hovered by the referee Matt Cecchin, who ultimately called out Jennings and told him: ''You've come running from a distance when it had nothing to do with you. Go.'' Gallen protested, saying: ''Sam Thaiday's been running in like that for years.'' But Jennings was already on his way.

The Blues rallied, Jarryd Hayne pushing Brent Tate out as he dived for the line. But they could only hold them for so long. Quick hands to Darius Boyd gave the Maroons their first try, and the lead.

Suddenly, the doubts came, along with the mistakes. Carney failed to find touch from a penalty, then lost the ball just as the Blues were desperate for some time off from tackling. Then Bird's tackle on halfback Cooper Cronk was penalised. The Maroons came up with an even slicker and quicker move to the left wing of Boyd. Smith's silver service from dummy half found Cronk, whose long ball hit Johnathan Thurston's Queensland's badge. Thurston then sent Boyd over for his second.

Slater, who had struggled under the high ball all night, fumbled another and Jennings, the man of the moment scored his second try of the contest.

The Blues will live to regret other decisions. They opted to shoot for goal after a 53rd minute penalty, just as they were re-establishing their dominance. Carney's kick slid wide and Queensland breathed again.

It was a gripping contest, which had just about everything. Except a NSW win.

QUEENSLAND 18 (D Boyd 2 G Inglis tries J Thurston 3 goals) bt NEW SOUTH WALES 10 (M Jennings A Uate tries T Carney goal) at Etihad Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Ben Cummins. Crowd: 56,021.

Related Coverage

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 23:  Blues players looke dejected after Greg Inglis of the Maroons scored a try during game one of the ARL State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Etihad Stadium on May 23, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) NSW feels the Blues. Again

Queensland benefited from some dubious refereeing to take Game 1 in the Origin series 18-10 in Melbourne.

Five things we learnt from last night's game

Greg Prichard pinpoints five important themes from Origin I.

Origin I: The eight key moments

Greg Prichard pinpoints eight things he learnt from State of Origin I at Etihad Stadium.

How they rated: QLD

Josh Rakic gives the Queensland players a rating on their Origin I performance.

How they rated: NSW

Michael Cowley gives the New South Wales players a rating on their Origin I performance.

So little between the sides, but so much room to improve for game two

The Blues are going to get better in this series, but so are Queensland. It's a matter of whether the Blues can fine-tune things enough to win in Sydney and create momentum going into a decider on Maroons' turf.

Repentant Jennings: 'I know what I did was wrong'

MICHAEL JENNINGS wandered out of a beaten NSW dressing room, feeling the loss on his shoulders.

GI admits ‘pure luck’ as Maroons ride good grace to victory

If Queensland fans are looking for a staunch defence of the referees' decision to award Greg Inglis that controversial try last night, Inglis himself is about the last guy to ask.

Referees' boss Harrigan furious at Stuart's try concession claim

Referees' boss Bill Harrigan has denied telling NSW coach Ricky Stuart that Greg Inglis's match-winning try for Queensland in last night's State of Origin should not have been awarded.

Myles is our Gallen, Thaiday says

Sam Thaiday has declared Nate Myles to be Queensland’s version of Paul Gallen after the unassuming backrower won his first man of the match since junior club football.

Key quotes from State of Origin game one

Best quotes from State of Origin game one between Queensland and NSW:

Myles takes inspiration from his hotel room

NATE MYLES spent yesterday afternoon watching old State of Origin games in his hotel room and getting nervous. By the end of the evening, he had won his first man of the match at any level since he was 16.

Harrigan backs video ref over Inglis' try

REFEREES boss Bill Harrigan has backed video official Sean Hampstead's decision to award a controversial try to Greg Inglis in the final 10 minutes of State of Origin I in Melbourne last night.

Related Coverage

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers