A three-try haul from Dane Gagai helped the Queensland Maroons beat the New South Wales Blues 26-16 at Suncorp Stadium last night.
Queensland’s dominance was too much for the Blues, frustrating their attack and defence. Jonathan Thurston chose to take a penalty goal early in the match, followed by another goal from NSW play-maker Adam Reynolds to level the score at 2-2 in the 11th minute.
Queensland gave away another penalty and Reynolds opted to take the two instead of keeping the pressure on. Consecutive penalties from Dylan Walker gave Thurston the easy decision to level at 4-4 with another penalty goal.
The first half included a sickening lift tackle from Sam Thaiday. Thaiday lifted Blues captain Paul Gallen by the legs, who landed on the top of his head in a vertical position. Much to the disbelief of Blues fans, referee Gerard Sutton only put it on report rather than opting for the sin-bin.
Gagai’s first try came from a mistake by Michael Jennings; Gagai streaked 90 metres down field despite an inspirational chase by Blues debutant Tyson Frizell. Gagai bagged a double seven minutes in to the second half.
Frizell had an impressive outing and was the best on ground for the Blues, he scored a try in the 56th minute and looked certain to score another but Michael Jennings knocked the ball on before Frizell grounded it.
Gagai went over again in the 63rd and became one of the four Queensland players in history to score a hat-trick.
An errant pass from Gagai saw James Maloney intercept and run the length of the field for a try to get within six points.
However Queensland put the nail in the coffin when Corey Oates went over to score his first Origin try in the 73rd minute and secured the series.
Thurston, Cameron Smith and Corey Parker were some of the best on field for Queensland while Robbie Farah, Matt Moylan, Frizell, Maloney all gave their best effort for the Blues.
Adam Reynolds came off with a shoulder injury in the dying minutes and is expected to miss three weeks for the Rabbitohs. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of the Queensland team celebrating from the Queensland Maroons Twitter feed.