NSW level Origin series with fighting win
New South Wales took Australia’s State of Origin rugby league series to a decider after a spirited 16-12 win over Queensland in the second match in Sydney on Wednesday.
The Blues, trailing 4-6 at half-time, won the match with 12 points in six minutes just after the resumption to hold off Queensland’s determined fightback before an 83,110 crowd at the Olympic stadium.
Queensland are bidding for an unprecedented seven straight series victories and looked on course to win after scoring in the final minute of the first half to lead at half-time.
NSW winger Akuila Uate allowed a high kick to bounce and hand interchange forward Ben Hannant a try under the bar.
But the Blues powered to a 16-6 lead to capitalise on Queensland scrum-half Cooper Cronk’s 10-minute spell in the sin bin.
Cronk was punished for a professional foul when he held back Todd Carney in a chase after a grubber kick in-goal.
Carney levelled with the resulting penalty and the Blues scored two quick tries to seize control.
Fullback Brett Stewart, who scored the game’s opening try in the 25th minute, grabbed his second try four minutes after the interval when he backed up a break by Carney to out-sprint the defence from halfway.
Centre Josh Morris scored NSW’s third try four minutes later after scooping up a ball dislodged from teammate Jarryd Hayne to race 45m to the try-line.
But Queensland refused to give in and Test centre Greg Inglis scored a record 14th Origin try off a high kick from Jonathan Thurston with 18 minutes left.
NSW players had their hearts in their mouths when Queensland winger Brent Tate appeared set to score, only for the ball to be knocked out of his hands by Graeme Jennings.
Queensland put the Blues under massive pressure on their own try-line forcing six goal-line drop outs and having to defend successive sets of tackles.
The series will now go to a decider in Brisbane on July 4.