New South Wales has jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 2013 State Of Origin series after beating Queensland by a scoreline of 14-6.
It was a brilliant start to the game that saw New South Wales set the platform for their victory. The Blues go forward was outstanding and really put Queensland on the back foot. The Maroons looks right off of their game early on. They had no go forward at all and in attack they looked disjointed. It just wasn’t clicking for them.
The match was only 5 minutes old when Jarryd Hayne scored the first points of the match. Hayne was outstanding in this game, he looked like a threat to Queensland for the full 80 minutes and was fantastic in defense.
A penalty goal by James Maloney in the 19th minute gave New South Wales some more breathing room and gave the Blues a solid reward for their dominance in the first 20 minutes. Maloney missed another penalty goal attempt soon after that he really should have converted, but luckily that didn’t come back to effect the result.
Michael Jennings gave New South Wales even more breathing room 35 minutes into the match. After a kick was mishandled by Queensland on their own line Jenning picked up the ball, ran to the center of the field and used his uincredible speed, acceleration and footwork to score a classic State Of Origin try. I’ve said for a long time that Michael Jennings is one of the few players in the game that can make something out of absolutely nothing, and this was a moment that showed what he is capable of.
Just before half time Paul Gallen went in with a mission to belt Nate Myles. He didnt’e miss! As Myles ran the ball Gallen came in with a swinging arm that didn’t miss the mark. After Myles had played the ball Gallen and Myles had words. Gallen hit Myles with a straight left, a right hook, another right, an uppercut, and then continued to pummel a stunned Myles who was only held to his feet as Gallen has hold on him.
Gallen was put on report for the swinging arm and complained to the referee that Myles had been leading with his head in tackles and twisting his knee going back a number of series. This was an old fashioned Origin square up and Gallen came out with the points decision. How many weeks he gets is anyones guess, but I’d suggest he won’t play again until State Of Origin number two.
That basically ended the half with New South Wales leading 14-0. They had played all over Queensland and had the bounce of the ball gone their way a little more they could have easily been up by much, much more.
The second half saw Queensland come out looking a lot better. Their attack looked like it was starting to click a little better and their forwards stood up and started to challenge the Blues pack.
As the half wore on the New South Wales forwards seemed to tire, and that allowed Queensland to get a lot more meters, especially out of dummy half. Justin Hodges was outstanding in the second half. His runs from dummy half were drawing in defenders out wide and helping to find space out wide every time.
It took a typical length of the field effort for Queensland to get their first points on the board. In the 61st minute Queensland scored their first try of the game after a few very classy offloads got thye Blues backpedaling. The Maroons brough the ball across field and Greg Inglis easily beat Josh Morris one-on-one before putting Darius Boyd over in the corner. The conversion made the scoreline 14-6, and the Maroons were looking ominous!
The last 20 minutes of the match was a real arm wrestle with both teams looking out of their feet at times.
Cameron Smith crossed for what looked like a try at one point but was rightfully ruled to have promoted the ball after grounding his arm before the try line. The double movement was called and a penalty against the Maroons gave New South Wales the ball.
Queensland battled hard but they just couldn’t crack the New South Wales defense. The Blues went on to win the first match of the State Of Origin series for the first time since 2008 and must be confident going into Origin two.
A few notes about the match…
Josh Reynolds didn’t get a run for New South Wales and I think that was a mistake. Robbie Farah got through 50 tackles in the match and I felt as though that really dulled the New South Wales attack out of dummy half in the second half.
James Tamou was outstanding in the first 20 minutes but he failed to have an impact later in the match. This is something that is because a bit too regular of an occurance for Tamou and is something he needs to work on. Andrew Fifita meanwhile played a perfect bench role for New South Wales. He can be proud of his performance on the night.
Johnathan Thurston looked under done. he struggled through the match. Mitchell pearce meanwhile was non existant in this game. Maloney completely dominated the playmaking. Has New South Wales lost I have no doubt Pearce would have been dropped in favour of Todd Carney.
From a Panthers fans point of view, watching Luke Lewis win Man Of The Match honours and Michael Jennings go close to claiming the award himself, it makes me wonder how on earth the Panthers could want to let these players go. Jennings was outstanding and would be the first center I’d select in the Australian World Cup team at the end of the year. I really think the way he handled Hodges one-on-one, it was a changing of the guard moment.
Queensland now have a few questions to ask going into the second State Of Origin game. I can’t help but think Queensland would look more dangerous with Greg Inglis at fullback. Billy Slater is a great player and will still have an impact on the wing. Inglis simply needs to get more ball. As a New South Wales fan, I don’t want to see Greg Inglis playing fullback for the Maroons. That says it all.
I also think Queensland need a big more size in their pack. I think they should look to bring in Ben Hannant and drop Corey Parker. They need more grunt and go forward early on in the game.
I don’t think either side will make that many changes for game two. You do get the feeling though that Queensland are very beatable this season. The stars in the Maroons side will step up at Lang Park in a few weeks time, but I think up front the Queensland side just hasn’t got the fire power of this New South Wales team.
So, now we wait for game two. I can’t wait!!!