Blue tears again as Maroons take out State of Origin
DEJA Blue. Nothing has changed.
After giving a desperate state so much hope through a dominant game-one win, NSW crumbled to hand Queensland an 11th win in 12 series.
Even without superstars Johnathan Thurston, Darius Boyd, Matt Scott and Greg Inglis, the Maroons still monstered a disappointing NSW team, clinching he decider 22-6 at Suncorp Stadium.
And it was all done in front of a deliriously joyous ground-record crowd of 52,540, who roared "Queenslander, Queenslander" all night.
The dreaded Maroons dynasty continues. NSW's pain has never been greater. The future for NSW looks clouded once again. Do we start all over again?
Where to from here for coach Laurie Daley? Mitch Pearce? A lot of questions, not many answers.
The Maroons celebrated wildly at full-time. They deserved to. After being dominated in the first half, NSW finally struck eight minutes into the second half when centre Josh Dugan snatched a James Maloney bomb on the full to score a desperately needed try.
Maloney converted to reduce Queensland's lead to just six points.
The Blues came out roaring in the second half, an incredible turnaround from the first half. NSW were finally muscling up.
But NSW's revitalised period ended in the 59th minute when Queensland winger Val Holmes scored his third try after a clean break from Origin debutant Cameron Munster.
It equalled the record for most tries on an Origin game.
Holmes, from the Shire, broke our hearts. His third try gave Queensland a 16-6 lead.
Munster was superb last night, Cam Smith named man of the match.
Jarrod Wallace's try in the 66th minute ended any hopes NSW may have held about pinching a late win.
Queensland could have sealed the game just four minutes into the second half but centre Will Chambers fumbled when a try loomed.
NSW temporarily escaped.
The Maroons were flawless in the first half, taking total control with a 12-0 halftime lead. NSW was flat and off-the-pace. They were getting belted.
Queensland played some free and expansive football in the first half, pressing side-to-side. They were fast, up-tempo and sharp, NSW rattled. They were all over the Blues.
It was difficult to watch, NSW missing 22 first half tackles. Queensland missed only eight.
The only consolation was that the scoreline was only 12-0. It could have been 24-0.
NSW made two errors inside the opening 15 minutes, the second, a sloppy play-the-ball, gave Queensland more possession.
And NSW was made to pay.
Star Maroons Billy Slater, Cameron Munster and Michael Morgan played decisive roles in a first-up try to Maroons winger Val Holmes.
Morgan's pass in traffic was delightful.
Replays appeared to show Holmes fumble the ball at grounding but video ref Bernard Sutton awarded the try. From the sideline, Smith converted to give Queensland a 6-0 after 15 minutes.
And it appeared to get worse for NSW when Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk scored beside the posts just two minutes later.
Replays however showed NSW winger Brett Morris fly in and miraculously dislodge the ball as Cronk dived over.
It was a lucky break for the shell-shocked Blues.
With Smith and Munster carving NSW up, the Maroons surged further ahead in the 26th minute.
Cronk delivered the most exquisite cross-field kick which landed right on the chest of an unmarked Holmes.
With NSW's Blake Ferguson having drifted infield, the Sharks winger simply caught the ball fell over the line.
Smith - in a menacing mood - nailed another sideline conversion to push Queensland out to a 12-0 lead.
The signs were ominous for NSW.
Smith's only first half blemish came near halftime when he held the ball for too long before offloading to Holmes, who crossed again.
The pass though was ruled forward.
NSW has some good field position right on halftime but another mistake, this time from Dugan, ended a terribly disappointing half.
Queensland 22 (Valentine Holmes 3, Jarrod Wallace tries; Cameron Smith 3 goals), New South Wales 6 (Josh Dugan try; James Maloney goal) HT: 12-0.