Underdogs Queensland stun NSW 22-12 to win Origin thriller

·2-min read

Underdogs Queensland stunned New South Wales 22-12 in a thrilling State of Origin decider to clinch the series 2-1 against the odds in Brisbane on Wednesday.

An emotional Queensland Maroons, reduced to just 15 fit men after a brutal start to the game that saw them lose two players to concussion in the opening minutes, celebrated wildly at the end in front of 50,000 fans packed into Suncorp Stadium.

A flurry of mistakes from the NSW Blues allowed depleted Queensland to find reserves of energy and dominate possession in the second half, keeping an exhausted New South Wales from further scoring after they led 12-10 at the break.

"It is what Queensland is all about. Hard work and really digging in when backs are against the wall. We did it again tonight," said Queensland hooker Ben Hunt, who scored the match-winning try with less than two minutes remaining.

The Maroons had won the first game in Sydney, while New South Wales fought back on neutral territory in Perth to force a winner-takes-all showdown.

Before kickoff Queensland lost five-eighth Cameron Munster and wing Murray Taulagi to Covid, leaving New South Wales as strong favourites.

A torrid opening four minutes saw Blues second row Cameron Murray forced off after being concussed in tackle with Queensland's Selwyn Cobbo and Lindsay Collins suffering the same fate in quick succession.

Despite the setback it was Queensland's Valentine Holmes who made the breakthrough, crashing his way through in the 14th minute.

New South Wales were quick to respond, as centre Jarome Luai dived to score off a kick four minutes later.

The Blues continued to be relentless in attack and were rewarded with a try through bench player Jacob Safiti.

But Queensland got fortunate seconds before half-time, when a defensive error led to Kurt Capewell getting over the line to reduce the deficit to only two points.

"We made too many mistakes as well and you can't do it in Origin games," said New South Wales half-back Nathan Cleary.

The physical battle during the first half was intense and did not let up after the break.

Opposing centres Dane Gagai and Matt Burton were sent to the sin-bin after exchanging wild punches off the ball.

It heralded a gripping 20 minutes as NSW held out in the face of successive Queensland attacks until danger man Kalyn Ponga weaved his way around the Blues defence to put the Maroons ahead 16-12.

Queensland continued to batter away and as New South Wales became desperate to score as the clock ticked down Hunt plucked at Cleary's miscued chip kick, clutching the ball, breaking clear and running half the pitch to seal the series.

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