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End of an Era - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Thu, 14 Jun 2007 11:14:00 GMT
NSW will be on the lookout for a new coach in 2008 after squandering any hope of regaining the State of Origin title this year by going down 10-6 to the Maroons at a packed Telstra Stadium.

The historic loss handed QLD a 2-nil lead while setting up a dead-rubber for Origin III.

Winger Steve Bell drove a steak into the heart of all blues supporters, not only scoring the try to broke a 6-all stalemate but insured Queensland won back-to-back State of Origin series.

After the game, Captain Darren Lockyer described the game as one of the gutsiest wins he’s ever been involved in.

Down 1-0 in the series and looking for some confidence, the Blues made a bright start to the match.

Coming in with big hits in defence and barn storming runs in attack, it was not long before NSW carved out there first opportunity.

In a good attacking position, the ball moved to the far right and found winger Matt King who was about to fall over the tryline before some last gasp defending from Greg Inglis bundled him over the sideline.

But it wasn’t before long until the Blues were able to put points up on the board. A rampaging Steve Simpson came a whisker short of a try before some clever thinking from fullback Brett Stewart came up trumps, darting from dummy half and catching the Queenslanders unawares for a 6-0 lead.

However, the Maroons weren’t going to lie down and slowly crawled their way back into the game. Shortly before the break, the Queenslanders found themselves on level terms.

Attacking NSW’s right hand side, Queensland worked the numbers well with the ball falling to winger Greg Inglis who had a free run to the try line.

The try galvanised the away side and within minutes came close to adding to the score line. Five-eighth Darren Lockyer found Tony Carroll who shrugged and wrestled his way through desperate tackles before being held over the try line.

Queensland continued their relentless pressure shortly after the break. A delicate Jonathan Thurston grubber was slightly to strong for a diving Greg Inglis, who would of regretted cutting his finger nails this morning as the ball agonisingly flew by inches from his fingertips.

NSW had small opportunities of their own, but it was Queensland who was the hungrier and were able to score their second try of the game.

A contentious forward pass started the move, with the ball falling to halfback Jonathan Thurston who’s diagonal run had the blues defence in sixes and sevens before a wonderfully weighted grubber kick found a flying and unmarked Steve Bell to put the Maroons ahead 10 point to six.

With time running out, Queensland thought they had the game wrapped up when speedster Shaun Berrigan found a gap and ran untouched to the try line, but the Broncos star was pulled back for a knock-on.

The Blues kicked into another gear and tried desperately to find a reply before the full-time whistle, but the Maroons were able to hold out, winning their first game ever at Telstra Stadium.

Queensland 10 (G Inglis, S Bell tries;J Thurston goal) d New South Wales 6 (B Stewart try; J Lyon goal) at Telstra Stadium. Referee: S Hayne Crowd: 76,924 Penalties: NSW 4-1 Line Breaks: NSW 2-1 Comp Sets: NSW 32/43, QLD 31/41 Kicks: QLD 30, NSW 28.

NSW fans received fair consolation in the curtain raiser after the home side trampled QLD 52-18 in the under –17’s game.

Despite the one-sided nature of the contest, there were plenty of old fashioned fireworks to keep spectators amused.

The most exciting period of the game involved punches being thrown wildly in a brawl five minutes before full-time, resulting in QLD half Ricardo Parata being sent off.

Representing NSW in the sin-bin were Josh McGuire and back-rower Mitch Jowett. From all accounts the brawl was deemed by some as more exciting then most of the main game.

NSW ran in 7 tries to one in the second half to deny QLD the right to celebrate with their more successful brothers in first grade.

- J King - Read More, Here