New South Wales has produced one of its greatest and most courageous efforts ever in their 12-8 victory over Queensland in the opening game of the 2014 Holden State of Origin Series played in Brisbane on Wednesday night.
The Blues delivered one of the greatest defensive games ever seen in the history of the series to take a 1-0 lead over the Maroons in the best three of series following their memorable victory coming in hostile territory.
It was the Blues first game one victory at Suncorp Stadium in 11 years and Laurie Daley’s side is one win away from capturing their first origin series since 2005 and in the same stop preventing the Maroons from winning their ninth straight series.
Daley was absolutely ecstatic afterwards as the former Blues captain, in his second series as NSW coach will have a chance to end the Maroons dominance if his side should win game two at ANZ Stadium in a few weeks’ time.
“In the past it’s always been the opposition they talk about, well they should now talk about us,” an emotionally drained Daley said at his post-match media conference.
“We had a truckload of injuries. Blokes who should have come off in the first half but stayed out there because we needed them to.”
“Origin is about hanging tough … that performance under duress is as good as I have been associated with. It was an A grade performance.”
Whilst Daley and the Blues were celebrating an incredible victory it was a different story for the Maroons who not only lost the opener but suffered some pretty serious injuries as well.
Halfback Cooper Cronk will miss game two and possibly the remainder of the series after breaking his arm, whilst fellow Storm teammates in Cameron Smith (ankle) and Billy Slater (shoulder) also suffered injuries which will be assessed over the coming days.
Maroons coach Mal Meninga believes his side will put that disappointment of their game one defeat behind them and will welcome back the likes of veteran forward Sam Thaiday for their game two encounter in Sydney on June 18th.
“We’ve been in this position before and come through,” Meninga told reporters afterwards.
In front of a capacity crowd of 52,111 at Suncorp Stadium the home side got off to a perfect start when winger Darius Boyd scored the games and series opening tie early in the game.
Queensland lead 4-0 early but slowly the Blues came into the encounter and after Cronk left the game with the broken arm the visitors seemed to take control and took the lead through first a try to Brett Morris and then a try to man of the match Jarryd Hayne.
A penalty goal by Trent Hodkinson saw the Blues take a 10-4 halftime lead and Hodkinson kicked another penalty goal soon after the main break to hand his side a 12-4 lead.
Seemingly out on their feet the Maroons produced yet another trademark comeback as Boyd crossed over for his second try of the game midway through the second half.
However the Maroons failed to convert their dominance in the second half to points after Boyd’s second try as they were denied time and time again by a courageous Blues side who were out on their feet.
In an incredible finish the Maroons had one last chance to win the game or win it but the brave heart Blues defense came up trumps one last time, as they denied Billy Slater just metres out from the line.
Queensland 8 (Boyd two tries)
New South Wales 12 (B Morris; Hayne tries; Hodkinson two penalty goals)
(Photo Source: Zimbio)