A late miracle try from Michael Jennings helped the NSW Blues overcome the Queensland Maroons 18-14 at ANZ Stadium.
It took only five minutes for Queensland to put the first points on the board, with Greg Inglis scoring his 18th origin try off a beautifully orchestrated set-piece by Johnathan Thurston and Darius Boyd on the right edge.
The Blues hit back and took the lead, with Tyson Frizell scoring his second origin try in the 22nd minute. James Maloney threw a cut-out ball to Paul Gallen, who spun an offload to Frizell, who bounced over Boyd to score.
The score remained at 6-4 until half-time with both sides showing great defence. The first-half penalty count was huge for an Origin game. Referee Gerard Sutton blew the whistle 9-1 to NSW, with Queensland giving away four straight penalties at the close of the first half. In the 30th minute Cooper Cronk was sent to the sin-bin for holding a Blues’ player back from a kick chase, preventing him from scoring a try. But despite a strong presence on their own try line the Blues couldn’t break through to capitalise on the Maroons’ missing man.
Cronk was still in the bin and had to wait 40 seconds to come back on in the second half, not long before Andrew Fifita scooped up a Wade Graham kick to put four points on the board for NSW.
Cronk’s return to the field helped debutant Gavin Cooper score for Queensland in the 52nd minute. Fifita featured in the Queensland try celebration, earning himself a sin-bin for running across the field and throwing Cooper to the ground after he threw the ball at young playmaker Matt Moylan.
Thurston and Boyd combined to steal the lead from the Blues in the 75th minute, giving NSW fans the all-too-familiar feeling of a loss we should have won. But in a last gasp effort, NSW burst through the left side, with Moylan and Tedesco combining to come up centimetres short of the line. Robbie Farah shifted right to Michael Jennings who dashed back inside scoring the match-winner for NSW.
Gallen nailed the conversion in his final Origin appearance, capping off his career with a win, while Corey Parker’s final match ended with another series victory.
Queensland captain Cameron Smith was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series, and joined others who criticised NSW players as disrespectful for walking away during his acceptance speech. – Jesse Mullens