The Game 3 decider, incredibly, lived up to the weeks of hype and expectation that had built to a crescendo by game day. The end result was the same as the past six years with Queensland taking the title.
But it was in the balance until almost the final play of the game when Blues halfback Mitchell Pierce skewed wide his field goal attempt that would have pushed the game into extra time.
And so Queensland just keep winning Origin, and Origin just keeps getting bigger. Record TV ratings; record interest and the feeling that, finally, NSW might actually have started to ‘get’ Origin.
Seven series losses in a row will do that to a team, even a state. There are now kids who have been through primary school only knowing Queensland State of Origin victories.
NSW started the better of the two teams, clearly keen to avoid repeating last year’s Game 3 decider at the same venue that saw them down and out at 24–0 after 20 minutes. A penalty in front of the goal posts, and poor Queensland defense allowed Brett Morris to barge over the try line and saw NSW 8-0 up.
The 52,000 Queenslanders who packed Lang Park started to get a little nervous.
Captain Cameron Smith then led a Queensland resurgence as they upped the tempo and took back control of the game, with two tries in quick concession. Queensland led 14–8 at half time.
The second half was dominated by a Queensland team determined to ensure veteran prop Petero Civoniceva went out a winner. But they just couldn’t breach the desperate and courageous defense from NSW.
In attack, NSW at times seem rudderless, no doubt exhausted from all the defensive work Queensland was inflicting on them. Against the run of play though they managed two tries, both from Robbie Farah kicks, and then Todd Carney nailed a conversion from the sideline to make it 20 all.
With five minutes to go it was field goal time. From 40 metres out and on an angle, Queensland half Cooper Cronk launched a sweetly timed bomb of a drop kick that sailed through. Unbelievable. Apparently he’d been staying behind at training all week to practice them.
In the end it was 21–20 to Queensland at full time. The streak continues for another year.