The NSW Blues won just their second State of Origin series since 2005 last night as the team dubbed the “Baby Blues” for their inexperience took advantage of the representative retirements of a number of Maroons stars to take an uncatchable 2-0 lead in the 2019 series, following their impressive game 1 win in Melbourne.
Queensland started the game on top, with Dane Gagai coming heartbreakingly close to a try in the first few minutes as his foot hit the sideline at the same time as he grounded the ball. Soon afterwards Valentine Holmes scored on the other side of the field, before Gagai claimed the meat pie on his second attempt.
At 10-0 down the Blues looked nervous before a piece of James Maloney magic put speedster Josh Addo-Carr over the line. Just before half time Ben Hunt gifted NSW the second penalty try in State of Origin history by blocking captain Boyd Cordner as he chased down a Maloney kick. At the break the Blues were up 12-10.
Early in the second half Latrell Mitchell ran straight over his opposite number Will Chambers, with Maloney converting to give NSW an 8 point lead. Chambers, however, quickly returned the favour to get to within four points.
Despite a James Roberts being sin-binned with 10 minutes to go, neither side was able to score again. In the end there were 3 tries apiece, with Queensland’s lack of goal kickers coming back to bite them as Holmes only converted one to Maloney’s 3.
Cordner, who left the field with concussion with 6 minutes to go, was awarded man of the match – although Maloney gave him some stiff competition for most influential New South Welshman. Billy Slater made a huge impact for Queensland coming back from injury, and proved why he will be remembered as one of the best fullbacks ever to play the game – if not the best.
Game 3 of this year’s State of Origin series will take place at Suncorp Stadium, with the Maroons desperate to avoid a whitewash as the Blues chase a 3-0 win for the first time since 2000.