NSW opened Origin 2018 with a 22-12 win over Queensland at the MCG.
NSW 2-0 James Maloney goal (17th minute).
NSW 8-0 James Tedesco try (21st minute), Maloney goal (22nd minute).
NSW 8-6 Valentine Holmes try (27th minute), Holmes goal (29th minute).
QLD 12-8 Dane Gagai try (42nd minute), Holmes goal (44th minute).
Tied 12-12 Latrell Mitchell try (47th minute).
NSW 18-12 Tom Trbojevic try (50th minute), Maloney goal (50th minute).
NSW 22-12 Josh Addo-Carr try (68th minute),
MALONEY LEADS THE BLUES TO VICTORY
It’s been a big year for James Maloney, blossoming after moving to Penrith this season. Without Nathan Cleary, Maloney stepped up and took Penrith to the top after 13 rounds. He converted that club form to Origin, having a hand (or boot) in all of NSW’s tries and kicking three goals from five. His cool kicking game gave NSW’s 11 debutants some breathing space in the second half, and prevented Queensland from mounting another miracle comeback. It was Brad Fittler’s first win as NSW coach and NSW’s fourth win from five MCG games since 1994. The question is, will NSW get overexcited as they head to Homebush on Sunday June 24, or will they keep their heads and not let Queensland back in?
QUEENSLAND FIND A WAY…THEN NSW COME BACK
It’s an Origin tradition that Queensland find a way out of trouble. Leading 8-0 after 25 minutes (Channel Nine MOTM James Tedesco scoring the series’ first try), NSW looked like scoring again before Valentine Holmes grabbed a crucial intercept (off former Cronulla teammate Maloney) 10 metres out. It lifted Queensland, finding momentum late in the first half. Dane Gagai scored early in the second half, giving Queensland the lead….then NSW struck back with tries to Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic (with a leap that’d make most AFL players at the MCG proud) in three minutes. Josh Addo-Carr’s try with 10 minutes left sealed it for NSW.
WELCOME BACK TO THE MCG
Hosting its fifth Origin game, the MCG showed why it’s the showpiece stadium in Australia. Fears of a small (by MCG standards) crowd were allayed when 87,122 turned up (“Marvellous effort that,” as the late Richie Benaud would say). Some people may wish to keep Origin to Brisbane and Sydney, but the MCG deserves to stay on the roster.
QUEENSLAND’S INJURY DRAMA
There was plenty of injury drama for Queensland in the lead up, with Billy Slater ruled out (hamstring), and Michael Morgan moving from the bench to fullback (and Anthony Milford replacing Morgan on the interchange). There were doubts over Dane Gagai (dislocating his finger), but he recovered before kick off.
Tries: James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Addo-Carr
Goals: James Maloney 3/5
Drop Goals: NA
Tries: Valentine Holmes, Dane Gagai
Goals: Holmes 2/2
Drop Goals: NA
Queensland: 14 Michael Morgan, 2 Valentine Holmes, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Greg Inglis (c), 5 Dane Gagai, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Ben Hunt, 8 Dylan Napa, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Jarrod Wallace, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Felise Kaufusi, 13 Josh McGuire.
Interchange: 15 Josh Papalii 16, Coen Hess, 17 Jai Arrow, 19 Anthony Milford.
New South Wales: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Tom Trbojevic, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 James Roberts, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 James Maloney, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 David Klemmer, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Tyson Frizell, 13 Jack De Belin.
Interchange: 14 Paul Vaughan, 15 Jake Trbojevic, 16 Angus Crichton, 17 Tyrone Peachey.