State Of Origin Game 3
By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
A try in the final minute to Michael Jennings helped New South Wales snatch a dramatic last minute victory to send retiring skipper Paul Gallen out an Origin winner.
Gallen produced two try assists in the Blues' 18-14 win over Queensland.
Down 2-0 in the Origin series, NSW were able to avoid a clean sweep for the first time ever in Sydney when Jennings's 79th minute try pipped the Maroons at the post.
A Queensland whitewash looked inevitable however when fullback Darius Boyd scored in the final six minutes to help the Maroons to a 14-12 lead, and though the series was wrapped up three weeks ago it was Johnathan Thurston's two missed conversions in the end that came back to bite them.
Handy lead up play from winger Blake Ferguson allowed for Blues debutant James Tedesco's break in the final 90 seconds – one of many highlights for the fullback – but he would be denied by an amazing Cooper Cronk try-saver.
But Gallen would had the last laugh when his pass offered Jennings enough space to crash over for the late winner. The veteran's job wasn't done there though, as the one and only conversion of his extensive career capped off the Blues' four-point win.
While NSW stood tall at game's end, it looked ominous earlier on when the Blues' right-edge were target for most of Queensland's earlier attacking plays and led to a simple Greg Inglis try – his 18th Origin try - after five minutes.
Handy lead-up work from Thurston and Boyd made it easy for Inglis as Matt Moylan, Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson were left scratching their heads in the aftermath.
From there the game would be all NSW's and even though Moylan and Tedesco produced errors, it wouldn't dent the state's confidence.
NSW hit their eventual 6-4 half-time lead in the 22nd minute when Tyson Frizell crashed over Boyd for his second try in two Origins following a wicked James Maloney cut-out ball to Gallen, who offloaded to the try-scoring Dragon.
A champion Queensland effort prevented any further points from the Blues in the first 40 after being forced into 63 extra tackles than their NSW counterparts.
By the break, Queensland had overcame a 9-1 penalty count, the sinbinning of Cronk – after the Maroons gave away their fourth-straight penalty on the Blues' try-line – and a Thurston error to trail by just two points.
Andrew Fifita went from hero to zero in the first 12 minutes of the second half.
The bullocking front-rower scored his first Origin try for NSW in the 42nd minute when Maloney's bomb was dropped by Queensland winger Dane Gagai, before Graham toed it through for his Sharks teammate to score.
But 10 minutes later, Fifita found himself in the sin bin following what one can only describe as a brain explosion after Queenslander Gavin Cooper's 52nd minute try.
As the Queensland debutant celebrated with his Maroons teammates, Fifita charged in from behind and put Cooper in a headlock which promptly lead to an all-in push and shove and the front-rower's eventual marching orders.
The Blues held strong however to nut out their first Origin win since Game Two last year.
NSW Blues 18. Tries: Frizell, Fifita, Jennings. Goals: Maloney (2/2), Gallen (1/1).
Queensland Maroons 14. Tries: Inglis, Cooper, Boyd. Goals: Thurston (1/1).