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'What a game': Thrilling end to Origin epic

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jun 2022, 8:27am
Queensland claimed a 16-10 win over New South Wales to take out the State of Origin opener. Photo / Getty Images
Queensland claimed a 16-10 win over New South Wales to take out the State of Origin opener. Photo / Getty Images

'What a game': Thrilling end to Origin epic

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jun 2022, 8:27am

The Queensland Maroons have taken a 1-0 lead in the 2022 State of Origin series after a second-half blitz at Accor Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park.

The contest ended in dramatic scenes, with the New South Wales Blues peppering the opposition tryline in a nailbiting final five minutes, but the Maroons held their nerve to claim a tense 16-10 victory.

With 80,512 fans cheering from the stands, Blues centre Jack Wighton opened the scoring with a try in the 14th minute, but it didn't take long for the Maroons to return serve.

Young rookie Selwyn Cobbo put together a piece of magic on the right wing to give Queensland a narrow two-point lead at halftime.

And the Maroons came out firing after the interval, scoring a further two tries in quick succession to embarrass the hosts and silence the Sydney crowd.

But in a late twist, New South Wales forward Cameron Murray dived over with less than nine minutes on the clock to reignite the sell-out Sydney crowd and set up a thrilling finish.

The Blues were threatening to score again a couple of minutes later before a clutch steal from player of the match Cameron Munster saved the Maroons.

With less than 60 seconds remaining, New South Wales lock Isaah Yeo came inches from scoring under the posts for the equaliser, but the siren sounded before the Blues could pull off a miracle comeback.

"That was one of the hardest games I've ever played," Munster told Channel 9 after the triumph. "I'm still trying to catch my breath."

"He's been everywhere, Munster," Queensland great Cameron Smith said on Channel 9.

"What a game. This has had absolutely everything tonight."

Both sides were riddled by injury concerns throughout the contest, while the Blues were thwarted by sloppy defence and handling errors.

Queensland had not won a State of Origin match in New South Wales since 2017.

"We lost it in the period before half-time, and after half-time they came out flying and we did not respond," New South Wales halfback Nathan Cleary conceded.

"We tried to move the ball a bit too much, it's something we have to look at."

Brad Fittler's men will look to equal the series in Perth on Sunday, June 26 for Game II.