Gutsy Maroons set up Origin decider with thrilling fightback

Gutsy Maroons set up Origin decider with thrilling fightback

NEWCASTLE’S Dane Gagai enhanced his remarkable State of Origin tryscoring record in Queensland’s miracle 18-16 win against NSW at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night.

It was clear that the Blues were attempting to defend their lead in the second half, rather than build on it, and eventually they were made to pay the price for taking a light approach to the second half.

One of those unexpected, nearly impossible Queensland moves where NSW just couldn’t put the man with the ball down, culminated in Dane Gagai scoring in the 53rd minute to make the score 16-12.

Daley also said that despite talk this current team could help NSW usher in a new era of Blues Origin dominance, none of his troops were getting ahead of themselves after beating Queensland 28-4 in game one at Suncorp Stadium. “I’m over the moon”, Thurston said.

His clubmate Cooper has a slick left-edge combination with Thurston at NRL level while being a reliable player in his own right who is unlucky not to have played more than his one Origin to date (Game 3 last year).

If there wasn’t incentive enough to clinch their 11th series win in the past 12 years, the Maroons will be desperate to send Thurston out a victor as they’ve done so often with their departing legends.

Gagai said after the game it was “still surreal for me to be able to represent the jersey”.

Johnathan Thurston converted from the sideline and you thought, hmmm, this might just be the return of Queensland.

But he knows better than most the way Queensland will hit back, especially after the return of Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater. “But all they can do is get ready as best they can and get ready for the onslaught”, Walters said.

NSW Origin legend Phil Gould says it creates an intriguing race against the clock to get Thurston fit for the series decider – expected to be Thurston’s last ever Origin game.

I think it will be slippery and dewy and that certainly brings Queensland back into the contest, especially through that middle third of the field.

The Maroons have kept this year’s Origin series alive with an unbelievable effort in the final minutes of the game.

“Speaking to Laurie (NSW coach Laurie Daley) before the series, he said the same thing”.

Now they are on track to send off some of their biggest names as winners. “It’s a series now and we have to go up there (to Brisbane) and do a job”.

The comeback came after the Maroons opened the scoring on their second visit into attacking territory with Holmes diving in to score in the corner and Thurston curling the touchline conversion between the uprights after 11 minutes. At one stage it was 11-1 in game three.

Despite making a couple of early blunders, Hayne looked unsafe with the ball in hand and when he got his chance, he made the most of it, strolling through the ragged Queensland defence to score in front of the Blues supporters and replicate his 2014 pose.

The Blues then took charge as James Maloney scooted through a gap from first receiver – beating debutant Tim Glasby, who had just come on – and passed wide for Brett Morris to score.