Rabbitohs skipper Greg Inglis has gone to the top of State of Origin’s all-time try-scorer list after grabbing a four-pointer in Queensland’s 26-18 loss to New Souths Wales in front of a record Origin crowd of 91,513 at the MCG this evening (Wednesday).
The Blues win sets up a thrilling decider at Suncorp Stadium on July 8 with both teams now having claimed a victory each in the course of the Series.
Despite being on the wrong end of the score-board, Inglis was in fine form, picking up a four-pointer, narrowly missing out on a second, while making 130 metres with the ball in hand and making five tackle busts.
A penalty to the Blues on the very first set put New South Wales in prime position early in the match, and on the back of two repeat sets on the Queensland line, it was Michael Jennings who streaked through to open the scoring out wide. Hodkinson converted to make it 6-0 after five minutes.
The Maroons would respond just five minutes later when Matt Scott ran straight between the goal-posts for what would prove a simple try to the front-rower. Thurston equalised with the conversion from right in front.
Mid-week suggestions that the Blues would not tolerate alleged ‘grubby’ Queensland tactics came to the fore in the early stages of the match, with James Tamou putting the niggle on the Maroons fullback in a minor fracas. The incident would earn Queensland a penalty, but it would be the Blues who would score next.
With the Blues attacking the Queensland line with intent, Mitchell Pearce kicked across field to a flying Josh Morris, who overcame a number of defenders to plant the ball down. Hodkinson converted to give the Blues a 12-6 lead.
The lead would be narrowed though as Queensland mounted a promising attack from a seemingly impossible position. It would be Inglis who would be the beneficiary – the Rabbitohs skipper taking advantage of a three on two situation down the short-side before finishing off the movement with a try to becoming Queensland’s leading try-scorer with 16 four-pointers. Thurston’s conversion attempt was waved away, leaving the score at 12-10.
A penalty against the Maroons for being inside the 10 metres line right on their own line gifted Hodkinson a penalty goal from right in front with 90 seconds in the half remaining. But the sides would ultimately go to the break with the Blues leading 14-10.
It took just five minutes after the break for the Maroons to get back on the board – Matt Gillett hitting the ball at speed close to the line before crashing over for his first Origin try to equalise next to the sticks. Thurston converted to take the lead to the tune of 16-14.
Another penalty to the Maroons within kicking distance saw Thurston take full advantage from 18 metres out to take the Queensland lead to 18-14.
But Aaron Woods would have none of it, with the Tigers front rower beating four Maroon defenders to score a brilliant front-rowers try from short-range. Hodkinson made no mistake to re-take the lead for the Blues by 20-18.
Inglis nearly grabbed a sensational second try when the Rabbitoh streaked some 80 metres untouched to score following a one on one strip on the Blues. But the video referee disallowed the try on the grounds of a knock on in the strip.
The Blues went on the attack again with 10 minutes in the match remaining with a short-ball to Josh Dugan opening up a gaping hole in the Maroon defence to score amid euphoric scenes from the New South Welshmen. Hodkinson converted to make it 26-18.
With the clock winding down, tempers began to flare with multiple scuffles breaking out as the Maroons searched desperately for an advantage. But the game would go to the Blues, setting up a decider at Suncorp Stadium on July 8.
NSW 26 (Michael Jennings, Josh Morris, Aaron Woods, Josh Dugan tries; Trent Hodkinson 5 goals)
QLD 18 (Matt Scott, Greg Inglis, Matt Gillett, tries; Johnathan Thurston 3 goals)
Hamlin’s Blues Go Down Fighting in Under 18s
Souths Junior, Gabe Hamlin’s, NSW Under 18s side went down to Queensland by 22-18 in the curtain raiser to Origin Game II at the MCG – the Rabbitohs SG Ball player proving solid in defence.
A solid first half from both sides saw the young guns go to the break locked at 12 apiece after the Blues scored the first two tries of the night.
After the break, it would be the Blues who would again score first through Reimis Smith to re-take the lead by 18-12.
Joshua Fauid put in a kick for Jaydn Su’A mere minutes later and the latter would score. The simple conversion attempt was missed, leaving the Maroons trailing 18-16 with the clock winding down.
With some desperate Queensland attack turning into hot-potato football, Fauid would ultimately go in to score and seal the game by 22-18.
QLD 22 (Thomas Mikaele, Tristan Hope, Jaydn Su’A, Joshua Fauid, tries; Joshua Fauid 3 goals)
NSW 18 (Ryan Papenhuyzen, Curtis Scott, Reimis Smith, tries; Brock Lamb 3 goals)