Entertaining Origin 1 decided on a controversial try
Greg Bird of NSW in action during State of Origin between Queensland and New South Wales (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
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The very entertaining Origin 1, played at a cracking pace, didn’t deserve to be decided by a highly-controversial Greg Inglis try giving Queensland an 18 -10 victory over NSW at Etihad Stadium last night.
Leading 12 -10 with seven minutes to go, Queensland was hanging on like grim death.
Approaching the Blues line, Cooper Cronk up and undered for a leaping Billy Slater to knock the ball back to teammate Greg Inglis who lost the ball on NSW hooker Robbie Farah’s boot, and the ball went forward in goal before Inglis touched down.
The video ref eventually awarded the try.
The try was Inglis’ 13th to become the highest try-scorer in Origin history, leaving another great Queenslander Dale Shearer on 12, Slater has 11.
Nate Myles was named man-of-the-match, but mine was Inglis with a non-stop display so synonymous with the super-talented centre.
Despite the Queensland win, NSW can be saluted for a far more spirited performance.
Pre-game Phil Gould, the most successful NSW Origin coach, called on the Blues to be motivated. Current coach Ricky Stuart called for belief.
For most of the 80 minutes both the Gould and Stuart wishes were granted. It was the odd few minutes throughout the contest where motivation and belief lapsed, that Queensland pounced.
That’s why they are such a magnificent side. Make a mistake and they make you pay.
They have a standup start with the likes of skipper Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Johnathon Thurston, and Cooper Cronk – five of the best players in the world.
Those NSW lapses saw Queensland winger Darius Boyd cross twice before the break, the first when NSW centre Michael Jennings was binned for 10 for running 40m to throw a haymaker when an all-in broke out. Dumb football.
But Jennings made up for his stupidity for the rest of the game with many searching runs, using his express speed.
His try in the second half gave NSW a sniff. Jennings was a controversial selection from Penrith second grade, as was Jarryd Hayne who has just been making up the numbers for Parramatta.
Both played some exceptional football to support Stuart’s faith in a side that will look forward to Origin 2 with renewed confidence.
They know only too well what they are up against. Queensland is one helluva rugby league team, arguably one of the best Origin sides of all time.
Despite the accolades, and the win, Queensland knows they dodged a bullet last night.
Bring on Origin 2 – June 13 at ANZ Stadium.
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