Queensland cap series win with whitewash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Queensland cap series win with whitewash

By David Beniuk 07/07/2010 11:09:17 PM Comments (0)

Queensland have capped an unprecedented era of State of Origin dominance, completing a series clean-sweep for the first time in their five-year reign with a tense 23-18 victory over a gallant NSW.

Proving they are one of the game's greatest ever sides, the Maroons rectified last year's game three slip-up after a week of partying to notch their first series sweep since 1995 and the first in Origin since NSW's effort in 2000.

"It's a great feeling, never done that," Queensland captain Darren Lockyer said.

"It wasn't looking great there with 10 minutes to go but the boys deserve it, they've put in a heap of effort over the years and I'm really happy for them."

It wasn't looking good for Lockyer's men with the Blues leading 18-13 with 10 minutes on the clock but, as the Maroons had predicted, a moment of niggle proved the turning point.

A penalty against Blues hooker Michael Ennis after a scuffle with Nate Myles resulted in Maroons fullback Billy Slater slicing through to score with six minutes left, Johnathan Thurston adding the extras to make it 19-18.

Willie Tonga iced the cake - which coach Mal Meninga could also use for his 50th birthday on Thursday - with a minute left on the clock.

The shattered Blues will now be subject to a sweeping review of their entire set-up with coaches, selectors and team management all in the firing line.

But, just as they did after game three last year, NSW were looking positively towards the future.

"I'm really proud of the way we fought," captain Trent Barrett said.

"The four new guys that came in, I think we've got a team there and we've got to stick with them.

"There's some good signs there."

Led by Barrett, the man he deposed as skipper Kurt Gidley and reformed bad boy Greg Bird, the Blues had overcome a 13-6 halftime deficit, scoring the first two tries of the second half with 61,259 fans willing them on.

But when winger Brett Morris dropped the ball with the line wide open in the 62nd minute and forward Anthony Watmough was miraculously held up by Slater three minutes later, the match swung Queensland's way.

The Maroons got on the board first when Darius Boyd completed a classy backline move in the 20th minute and a Thurston conversion from the sideline made it 6-0.

Myles crossed for the simplest of tries running onto a Cameron Smith pass and it looked ominous for the Blues at 12-0.

NSW gave themselves some hope when Paul Gallen crashed over after collecting a clever inside ball from replacement dummy half Gidley.

Lockyer, though, stretched the lead to seven with a majestic 45m field goal that would have still earned a point had the posts been another 10m back.

The Blues fightback continued after the break, despite a first tackle error from Bird after the lock had won a penalty and deposed captain Gidley was in the thick of it again, completing some hot-potato ball movement in the 47th minute with a gutsy charge to the line.

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