Mon, Jun 25, 11:59am by Staff Writer
New South Wales have claimed their second State of Origin series in 13 years, with a hard-fought 18-14 win against Queensland at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
The Blues were hot favourites for the match, priced at $1.40 at Sportsbet.
Playing in front of over 82,000 fans at ANZ Stadium, this was a statement game from the Blues.
They held a 1-0 lead and a half-time lead in game two of last year’s series, but surrendered the shield to Queensland.
History did not repeat itself this season, despite the Maroons showing plenty of determination in the closing stages.
Two tries in the opening 20 minutes to Queensland had New South Wales down 10-0 and fans worrying that the ghosts of years past had returned.
The Blues finished the first-half the stronger side, with Josh Addo-Carr and Boyd Cordner scoring in the 25th and 31st minute.
Cordner’s try was awarded a penalty try by the video referee, in a brave decision from Bernard Sutton, after his brother had sent up the call as a no try on field.
A Latrell Mitchell try early in the second half gave New South Wales an eight point lead after James Maloney converted, with Queensland looking out of ideas in attack.
Ben Hunt did not have his best game in the number seven jersey for Queensland, but Newcastle’s Kayln Ponga shone on debut.
The youngster played 60 minutes and made 30 tackles in a tremendous utility performance. He played through the middle of the park and provided another playmaking option for Queensland.
Coach Kevin Walters inserted him into the game early, with Ponga’s enthusiasm lasting until the closing stages of the match.
He set up numerous near-try scoring opportunities for his side, who were within four points after a Will Chambers try in the 63rd minute.
An inexplicable Latrell Mitchell error on first tackle gifted Queensland the ball and they scored from the ensuing penalty.
A James Roberts sin bin in the 69th minute was just another twist in this incredible game, with New South Wales reduced to 12 men, but holding a four-point advantage.
The video referee was called into action again, determining that the jersey tug by Roberts did not constitute a penalty try to Queensland, as Tom Trbojevic was nearby in defence.
New South Wales held their nerve to clinch the series, with game three to take place in Brisbane on July 11.
Queensland are $2 outsiders at Sportsbet, with New South Wales $1.81 to win the match.
The Maroons will be playing at Suncorp Stadium in what will be veteran Billy Slater’s final Origin game.
Queensland were far more competitive in game two and will be determined to win game three, with their odds certain to fall in the coming days.
Game 3 Odds – Sportsbet
Queensland $2 New South Wales $1.81
Handicap: New South Wales -1.5 $1.91
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