Queensland Do It Like Only They Can, With Incredible 18-14 Comeback Win
Wow. How do they do it? Year after year, how do they do it?
Queensland has won Game I of the 2019 State of Origin series, coming from 0-8 down at halftime to win 18-14.
NSW scored first and led 8-0 at the break, although its fair to say they never dominated the first half.
Indeed, they were lucky to keep the home team scoreless, thanks to at least two fortunate calls, including this no-try ruling.
"Queensland could have scored four or five tries tonight," commentators in maroon blazers lamented, and there was plenty of truth to that.
When they finally scored, this spectacular effort was worth the wait.
For several tense minutes there, it was 8-8. Queensland were dominating. Another try looked inevitable.
But against the run, NSW finally got a bit of a breather with a couple of repeat sets up Queensland's end -- repeat sets earned, it must be said, through luck rather than pressure.
But the luck went straight back the other way when Origin debutant Jack Wighton scouted wide on the left looking for an opening. He passed... straight into the waiting arms of Queensland flyer Dane Gagai, who ran the length of the field to score.
12-8. Ponga missed the conversion.
And then the unthinkable. James Tedesco, who had been the best player on the field in the first half, as he was for the whole of the first game last year, dropped the ball in an early tackle near his own line.
Queensland pounced. It went wide. Gagai again! Over in the corner. Beautiful put down too. And this time Ponga made no mistake. 18-8.
NSW got a late one back under the posts. Four minutes to go. But it wasn't enough. The Blues had a chance or two, but this was Queensland's night, and deservedly so.
"Like I always say it's just off the back of effort from the boys," two-try Qld hero Gagai told Channel Nine after the game, downplaying his own efforts.
The 28-year-old Rabbitoh is one of those pure Origin players. You barely notice him week-in, week-out, but put him in maroon and his jersey becomes a cape.
"It makes my job a lot easier when I'm catching the ball out wide. It's having trust with the boys on the inside and that I know my role," he modestly added.
18-14 to the Maroons in an absolute cracker of a series opener. Game II is on Sunday, June 23 in Perth.