Thu, Jun 7, 11:21am by Staff Writer
New South Wales has taken a commanding 1-0 lead in the best-of-three State of Origin series, after a 22-12 win against Queensland in Melbourne on Wednesday night.
The Blues are now $1.13 at Sportsbet to claim just their second State of Origin series win since 2005. Queensland are $6 outsiders.
New South Wales controlled the opening 20 minutes of play and were rewarded when James Tedesco crossed for the games first try in the 21st minute.
Tedesco was superb throughout the match, saving his best performance of the season for the biggest stage. He was instrumental in setting up a number of key plays for the Blues throughout the match, with his speed and footwork a constant threat.
Queensland had few opportunities until the 28th minute, when Valentine Holmes was outnumbered two on one and intercepted a James Maloney pass that was certain to be a Blues try.
Instead Holmes dashed down the MCG and was not stopped, scoring an 85m try that changed the game and drew Queensland within two points, with the half-line scoreline favouring New South Wales 8-6.
The second half began with a Maloney forward pass, which Queensland capitalised into points, with 2017 Wally Lewis medallist Dane Gagai scoring in the corner to make it 12-8.
It was a Gagai error in the 47th minute that gifted New South Wales field position and where the game changed indefinitely.
Debutants Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic scored back-to-back tries, with a 69th minute four-pointer to Josh Addo-Carr sealing victory for the Blues.
Queensland were disappointing, particularly in defence as they missed 53 tackles. The Maroons executed predictable fifth-tackle options, with many kicks to Tom Trbojevic going uncontested.
They lacked a ‘spark’ on the attacking end, with Cameron Munster not playing as he did in game three of the 2017 series and a number of their other key players suffering from injury niggles including Gagai and half back Ben Hunt.
The injection of playmaker Anthony Milford was too late, as the match was already slipping away from the Maroons, with a player like Newcastle’s Kalyn Ponga surely a must in game two given his speed and ability to break a line.
Blues hooker Damien Cook was tremendous, as were all debutants for the Blues, who had 11 in all.
Game two takes place at ANZ Stadium on Sunday 24 June at 8.10pm.
The Blues are huge favourites at $1.32 for that match, with Queensland $3.45 outsiders. The opening handicap is set at 9.5-points favouring the Blues.
State of Origin Odds – Sportsbet
New South Wales $1.13 Queensland $6
Series Correct Score
New South Wales 3-0 $2.50
New South Wales 2-1 $1.91
Queensland 2-1 $6.50
New South Wales $1.32 Queensland $3.45
Handicap: -9.5 New South Wales $1.90
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