James Maloney goes in for a try.
James Maloney goes in for a try.

‘Hey Will, you’ve just dropped the Origin shield’

IT was the moment that QLD centre Will Chambers dropped the State of Origin trophy.

Like South Africa's Hershelle Gibbs famously did at the 1999 cricket World Cup when he split a straight forward Steve Waugh catch.

Some blunders are bigger and more expensive than others.

This was such a crucial time of the game with both sides desperately searching for a breakthrough.

 

James Tedesco scores as Will Chambers looks on having made the earlier mistake. Pic: Michael Klein
James Tedesco scores as Will Chambers looks on having made the earlier mistake. Pic: Michael Klein

Just 20 minutes into the game, with the Blues leading 2-0, Felise Kaufisi broke clear on the right side with Chambers in support.

The Storm centre has played grand finals, eight Origins and Test match football.

He is renowned for having great hands, but not this time.

It was so critical because a try could have broken the confidence and spirit of the rookie Blues.

 

Damien Cook was impressive in his first game for the Blues.
Damien Cook was impressive in his first game for the Blues.

A scrum goes down from his error. NSW play the ball. Livewire Damien Cook skirts out of dummy half, finds an opening with Maloney backing up. He passes to James Tedesco for the try.

What could have been a QLD touchdown if Chambers had held the ball with support outside him becomes an 8-nil lead to the Blues.

It's a huge turnaround. It could have been 6-2 the Maroons if he'd held the football.

This game wasn't an Origin classic but still an enthralling contest.

The highlight for me was the low penalty count.

Tom Trbojevic leaps high against Valentine Holmes to score a try in one of the highlights for the Blues on a special evening.
Tom Trbojevic leaps high against Valentine Holmes to score a try in one of the highlights for the Blues on a special evening.

Finally Gerard Sutton and Ashley Klein put their whistles away. Only five penalties all night and none in the second half, although the game was no different to what we've watched all year.

Just what we asked for. The game flowed and we got our money's worth. All they missed was a metre forward pass for Josh Addo-Carr's 69th minute try.

For Blues five-eighth and playmaker James Maloney it was a mixed night.

He not only threw the intercept pass for Holmes to scoot away but handed the Maroons their second try with a forward pass to Latrell Mitchell just two minutes into the second-half.

Suddenly you understood why Fittler had concerns about picking him.

Two blunders for two Maroons tries. The Maroons had now firmed to $1.85 in live betting.

To his credit Maloney remained composed. He knew he had to with 11 debutants.

On the wing Tom 'Turbo' Trbojevic proved his selection was a masterstroke. His try in the 50th minute off a Nathan Cleary kick, which he ripped out of Valentine Holmes' grip, was all quality.

 

The Blues celebrate a try to Josh Addo-Carr on his debut.
The Blues celebrate a try to Josh Addo-Carr on his debut.

Many of us questioned why he got the got the nod over Nic Cotric.

Damien Cook at hooker was the other debutant to stand out.

Unlike last year where we had nothing from dummy-half with Nathan Peats, Cook was simply outstanding.

So too was fullback James Tedesco in easily his best game of the year.

The stage is now set for the Blues to wrap up the series on Sunday fortnight at ANZ Stadium.

No Cameron Smith, no Johnathan Thurston, no Cooper Cronk and no Billy Slater.

Greg Inglis tries his heart out but it wasn't enough.

The Maroons' long and painful dominance of Origin is at last over.



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