Greg Inglis’ Queensland side have taken Origin I at ANZ Stadium this evening (Wednesday) in an intense a low-scoring affair (6-4) that would leave players gasping for breath late in the match.
Both Inglis and Reynolds played solid roles for their respective teams - Inglis at centre for Queensland, while Reynolds began his Origin career with a display that signalled his intention to not be intimidated by the Maroons, playing halfback for the Blues.
Both teams began the game in solid fashion, but multiple counts of ill-discipline from the Blues would see Queensland take first points thanks to a Johnathan Thurston penalty goal – the Maroons leading 2-0 after 15 minutes.
But while all the early territory belonged to the Queenslanders, when the Blues finally did get inside the opposition 20 metre line, the Blues forced multiple repeat-sets and finally came up with a try when Boyd Cordner ran off the hip of James Maloney to take the lead 4-2. Reynolds’s conversion attempt would be waved away.
Despite NSW seemingly taking control of the match with sustained pressure, it would be Queensland who would respond with points with a try to Dane Gagai, who scored on the end of a quick catch and pass back-line movement. Thurston’s conversion attempt was waved away leaving the score at 6-4 in favour of the Maroons going into the sheds.
A second half arm-wrestle ensued that wouldn’t see either side looking likely to score until the 66th minute of play. Josh Morris would come within a whisker of scoring at that point, but The Bunker would deny the Blues centre on the grounds of being just short of the line.
The Blues continued to dominate field-position, but with the clock winding down, desperation in both attack and defence saw the game only intensify. Justin O’Neil would leap high above Josh Mansour on the Queensland line only to come up short, while forwards from both teams charged up-field with some strong running.
But the intensity would seemingly take its toll on the teams, as players from both sides of halfway took as many opportunities as possible to eat up the clock as they looked to regain their breath.
With less than two minutes on the clock remaining and with the Blues in possession, Dylan Walker lost the ball in centre-field as he looked to play the ball, gifting the Maroons field position and the opportunity to extend their lead.
By the end of the set, the Queenslanders had forced a repeat set through Jonathan Thurston, meaning Queensland would wrap up the match.
The Maroons now go into Game II in Brisbane one-nil up in the Series.
Queensland 6 (Dane Gagai, tries; Johnathan Thurston 1 goals)
New South Wales 4 (Boyd Cordner, tries)