State of Origin 2012 Game 3 Full-time score: QLD 21-20 NSW
Darius Boyd celebrates his try with Cam Smith during the State of Origin 3 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Wednesday, July 4, 2012. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Robb Cox)
State of Origin 2012 Game 3 Full-time score: QLD 21-20 NSW Queensland overcame New South Wales barrages to claim an unprecedented seventh consecutive State of Origin series, clinching the 2012 Game 3 decider 21-20 on the back of a 75th minute field goal by Cooper Cronk.
In what will go down as one of the most memorable Origin clashes in history, Cronk showed tremendous composure to kick true from 40 metres, much to the delight of the delirious sea of maroon in Brisbane.
After falling behind 0-8, Queensland posted 16 unanswered points before the break, underscoring just why they’ve held an unabated stranglehold on the State of Origin series for the best part of a decade. Tries to Darius Boyd, Johnathan Thurston and Justin Hodges in the shadows of half time set the foundation for this rampaging Queensland unit.
But New South Wales didn’t go quietly into the night.
While Queensland kept the scoreboard ticking over with penalties, second half tries to Brett Stewart and then Josh Morris drew the Blues level at 20 following a clutch sideline conversion by Todd Carney on the 70 minute mark.
With the crowd at fever pitch, Cronk seized his opportunity and gave the hosts a one-point lead that would prove enough to continue the maroon dynasty for at least another year.
A predictably fiery opening saw penalties conceded and punches thrown before 90 seconds had even elapsed, with Paul Gallen and Brent Tate likely to face scrutiny for a pair of vicious high shots.
The visitors hit the board first via a Carney penalty goal, Ricky Stuart indicating his strategy to take guaranteed points by holding two fingers aloft without hesitation.
The Blues found more reward for their sustained pressure just four minutes thereafter when Brett Morris outmuscled Sam Thaiday to score the game’s first try.
Perhaps starting to sense their dominance ebbing away, Queensland hit back through Darius Boyd.
The Maroons took advantage of the field position gifted by a Blues penalty as Johnathan Thurston fired a bullet cut-out pass to Boyd who crossed in the left corner.
Thurston was involved again on the half hour mark, pulling the strings in his own end to set his team mates away before brilliantly running the length of the field to receive the final pass and score next to the posts.
Justin Hodges added to the Blues’ misery, scoring a third for the home side just prior to half time as a Thurston conversion added to his tally where tonight he became Queensland’s second highest point-scorer.
New South Wales needed to regroup at half time and took to the field a more invigorated side.
The margin was quickly cut to two as Robbie Farah’s perfectly-timed grubber found a diving Brett Stewart.
Queensland took their lead back out to four points – then six thanks to a pair of penalties, but the real drama was yet to unfold.
With time very much against them, New South Wales threw everything at their northern rivals and it was Farah once again responsible for orchestrating the kicking game.
A desperation bomb to the wing somehow found its way into the hands of a diving Josh Morris who controlled possession and planted the ball in the corner. Carney’s kick was ice cold in the circumstances and the Blues suddenly found themselves on level terms, only to be denied minutes later by the boot of Cronk.
It was a gallant effort by the visitors, but the consistency, determination and sustained class of this wonderful Queensland side ensured that the Origin trophy would stay north – at least for another year.