A tremendous last-minute James Tedesco try has sealed the Blues’ second-straight Origin win, New South Wales winning the 2019 series after a 26-20 Game 3 win.
Despite a late Queensland surge which looked to have sent the decider into extra-time, Tedesco was able to capitalise on a tiptoed break down the right touchline from Blake Ferguson – started by Mitchell Pearce – crossing in the corner to seal an unforgettable win.
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Earlier, the Maroons were comfortably the better side in the first half, Cameron Munster enjoying the freedom which comes with playing at fullback and Corey Norman looking comfortable in his Origin debut.
And while the Blues opened the scoring with an early penalty, Queensland crossed for the first try of the night. Daly Cherry-Evans combined with Norman before the latter put through a perfect grubber which Felis Kaufusi couldn’t help but score from.
The visitors continued to enjoy better field position than the hosts, and stretched the scoreline to 8-2 on the back of an Ethan Lowe penalty goal. But a bit of James Tedesco magic helped the Blues grab their first try before halftime.
The New South Wales fullback surged up the left-hand flank after a poor kick from Ben Hunt, and Paul Vaughan was able to crash over from close range after a couple of penalties following the Tedesco break.
The score stayed locked at eight-all at half-time after a Cherry-Evans field goal attempt drifted wide with seconds left in the half.
The second half started on a sour note for the Maroons when Michael Morgan, who came off the bench around 20 minutes into the game, was forced from the ground after a sickening head knock with Josh McGuire’s elbow. And the news got worse for Queensland when Tedesco burst over in the corner straight after, James Maloney extending the lead to 14-8 by nailing the sideline conversion.
The try marked a noticeable shift in momentum in favour of the Blues. A couple of one-on-one strips deep in Queensland’s red zone didn’t lead to more points, but the sell-out crowd didn’t have to wait much longer for another try. Damien Cook sniped out of dummy half, and the hooker’s speed and footwork were far too much for Munster to stop.
A 12-point lead should have been extended even further when Cameron Murray couldn’t find any support after breaking through the middle of the field, and NSW started to show a few nerves with a series victory in sight.
Maloney tried to force a kick out wide when the option wasn’t quite there and knocked on soon after on the attack, and Jack Wighton couldn’t control the ball when a try-scoring opportunity presented itself down the right touchline.
Those lost chances proved vital. With nine minutes left, Josh McGuire powered over the line, the Bunker awarding the try despite some admittedly hopeful complaints about a double movement. And it was all square five minutes later when Lowe charged down a Maloney kick, giving Queensland the perfect platform to start their set 30 metres out. Four tackles later, Cherry-Evans put Josh Papalii over, and Lowe converted without any trouble.
But with a drawn match – and the extra time which comes with it – looming, NSW managed to break down the field, allowing Tedesco to win the series with his late try.
The star fullback was comfortably the best afield, playing a crucial role in the Blues’ only first-half try and scoring two himself, and was rightly rewarded for his efforts in all three games by being awarded the Wally Lewis medal for player of the series.