Queensland send Locky off a winner - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Queensland send Locky off a winner

Wayne Heming 06/07/2011 11:02:15 PM Comments (0)

It should have been a night of Blue murder on the back of the inspiring work done by Queensland veteran Petero Civoniceva.

And even though the 34-24 final scoreline wasn't as flattering as it perhaps should have been in the Maroons' favour, it was yet another awesome display from the reigning six-time State of Origin champions.

Queensland charged out to a 24-0 lead seven minutes before halftime and the fans were loosening the champagne corks.

In front of a ground record-equalling crowd of 52,489 - mostly rabid Queensland fans willing their great champion Darren Lockyer to a fairytale farewell win - surely no side could come back from four converted tries down.

Or could they?

When veteran Blues' fullback Anthony Minichiello and dynamic winger Akuila Uate scored tries within the space of four minutes just before halftime, the Maroons headed to the sheds a little nervous as their big lead was suddenly cut to 14 points.

This wasn't a game of tactics. It was a game of who wanted it most.

NSW had come to town with one mission - to spoil Lockyer's farewell party and leave his adoring fans disappointed, just as they were when coach Mel Meninga was denied in his last Origin in 1994.

However, in the end, the Civoniceva-inspired onslaught in the first half proved telling as NSW's comeback plans stalled after the break.

The massive heart and broad shoulders of Queensland's Fijian-born warhorse set up a near perfect opening 40 minutes and that was something the Blues had not counted on after containing him well in Origin II in Sydney when they squared the series.

Civoniceva was a man on his own mission after NSW skipper Paul Gallen had dominated the previous match with a staggering 211 metres playing in the front-row.

It was a red rag to a bull for Civoniceva, who, as he's done so many times in his career, took up the the challenge, smashing out an amazing 125 metres in the first half.

He finished one metre short of 200metres for his team and, although NSW remained a mathematical chance of winning heading into the second half, the hard yards made and the energy already sapped by Civoniceva and co was always going to be a giant mountain to climb.

This was an Origin that was certain to be won in the mind and Queensland have an incredible winning mentality.

The game opened up very early with NSW spreading the ball wide for Brett Morris to make a break, and Queensland also rolling the dice - with much greater success - on the back of their superior field position.

All tactics went out the window when Queensland sprinted away and the points flowed - both in the first half and then a final deluge in the last 15 minutes of the match.

In the end, though, Queensland's players just wanted to say thanks to Lockyer.

And no tactics or game plan was going stop them.

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