The Queensland Maroons have caused a Game 1 boilover, coming from 8-0 down at half time to defeat New South Wales 18-14 in Game 1 of the 2019 State of Origin series.
It was an entertaining first half, with neither side putting a foot wrong as completed set followed completed set.
Corey Oates looked to have opened the scoring with a superb diving effort over the sideline, but the video referee correctly picked up a foot over the sideline in the lead-up. Josh Morris soon answered for NSW, with his superb effort – set up by James Tedesco – adding to an earlier penalty goal to make it 8-0 Blues.
The Maroons thought they’d crossed again in the shadows of half time, but Dylan Napa was unable to ground the ball following a pinball kick by Daly Cherry-Evans.
The second half saw Queensland emerge much stronger, however, with Oates managing a successful sideline dive to get them on the board before the bunker turned them away twice more.
Michael Morgan managed to bring a contingent of Blues defenders over the line with him, but he was unable to ground the ball, before Matt Gillett was controversially denied a penalty try despite a professional foul by Latrell Mitchell.
That foul, however, sent Mitchell to the sin bin – and Queensland pounced with the man advantage.
Dane Gagai gobbled up an errant Jack Wighton pass deep in defence and ran the length of the field to score an inspiring try, before he crossed close to the sideline again soon after to put the game out of reach.
Jake Trbojevic barrelled over for a late try to make things interesting, but the Maroons defence held firm over the last five minutes to seal the win.