Queensland’s world-class “spine” inflicted the damage Blues coach Ricky Stuart was “scared” of with four converted tries in 20 minutes to lead 24-10 at half-time of the 2011 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series decider at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium tonight.
Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston combined to set up Greg Inglis for the first try in the 16th minute, which Thurston converted _ the first of four Thurston conversions in the half.
Slater then repeated his magical offload 9mins later to send Sam Thaiday across the line; followed 5mins later by Cameron Smith from a dummy hald barge-over and another 3mins later by Jhral Yow-Yeh after an error by Minichiello.
The Maroons’ sixth successive series victory and fairy tale send-off for retiring captain Darren Lockyer appeared to be a formality until the Blues desperation to end the Maroons’ five-year strangehold saw them break through in the dying minutes of the half.
But in a bizarre twist, Queensland squandered a commanding 24-0 lead three minutes before the break as the Blues scored twice in a fitting dramatic fightback in one of the most intriguing Origin Series in history.
Minichiello made amends for his earlier blunder to scored in the 37th minute after Queensland fumbled the ball, firstly through Lockyer; then Akuila Uate really out the Bklues back in the game, scoring on the bell.
HALF-TIME: QLD 24 (tries: Greg Inglis, Sam Thaiday, Cameron Smith, Jhral Yow Yeh; goals: JohnathanThurston 4)
NSW 10 (tries: Anthony Minichiello, Akuila Uate; goals: Jamie Soward 1)