State of Origin: Queensland win their eighth straight series against New South Wales
Last Updated: 17/07/13 1:58pm
New South Wales' bid to reclaim the State of Origin fell just short as a 12-10 defeat to Queensland saw them slip to an eighth straight series loss.
The visitors made the perfect start at ANZ Stadium in Sydney courtesy of Johnathan Thurston's try. Thurston converted his own score before slotting home a penalty to make it an 8-0 lead.
New South Wales, who last won a series in 2005, did responded before half time with James McManus squeezing over, but they were unable to add the extras from out wide through James Maloney.
Queensland restored their eight-point lead thanks to Justin Hodges' try and while Trent Merrin crossed the whitewash under the posts late on that was the last of the scoring.
Just like they did during the second game in Brisbane it was Queensland who started the better and it was no surprise when they struck first through Thurston inside 10 minutes.
The attack seemed to break down when a support runner over ran the play, forcing Thurston to dummy left and come back into centre field. And he found some static Blues defence, squeezing through a gap between James Tamou and Aaron Woods before wriggling free of a couple of tackles to score beside the posts.
Thurston converted his try and added a penalty goal a couple of minutes later to have the Maroons leading 8-0.
The home side went close to hitting back twice in the space of a minute midway through the half when only some brilliant last-ditch defence denied former Wigan man Ryan Hoffman and then McManus on back-to-back tackles.
But the next time the Blues got in the attacking zone, they made it count to halve the deficit. It was a perfectly-executed second-man play, with Josh Dugan sweeping around the back before linking up with Josh Morris on the right.
The centre showed some fancy footwork to step past Darius Boyd and Greg Inglis and getting a pass away to McManus, who broke free of Billy Slater's tackle to cross in the corner.
The Blues almost scored again before the break when Boyd fumbled Robbie Farah's grubber in-goal but he was just able to ground it before Morris pounced.
It was a lucky escape for the visitors and it was enough for them to hold on to an 8-4 lead at the break. But it was a cagey start to the second half with neither side able to mount any serious pressure as both defences got on top.
A rare penalty to Queensland on the hour mark, their first since the 12th minute, gave them an opportunity on the Blues line and they were rewarded.
With the NSW defence stuck on their line, Hodges ran the perfect line and collected a superb short ball from Cooper Cronk to crash over and increase the lead to eight points.
But the Blues were not about to throw in the towel and set up a grandstand finish when Merrin used Parker as a turnstile to score under the posts and make it 12-10.
But they ran out of time with Queensland holding on to make it eight series wins in a row.