Rugby League - Queensland win State of Origin series again

Queensland completed a remarkable eighth-straight State of Origin series win after holding on for a 12-10 victory over New South Wales in the decider at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

PA Sport
Rugby League - Queensland win State of Origin series again

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Jonathan Thurston scored a try and two goals as Queensland secured victory

In a pulsating match played in front of almost 84,000 fans, the Maroons showed why they have won every series since 2006 with a spirited and clinical display.

After leading 8-4 at the break Mal Meninga's side looked to have sealed the result when Justin Hodges barged over with less than 20 minutes left, but spurred on by a hostile home crowd the Blues came again and a superb individual try from Trent Merrin got them back within two points with nine minutes left.

It was only the start of the drama, as a streaker ran into the middle of play just as Queensland prop Matt Scott looked to have scored what appeared to be the match-winning try.

Play was stopped for more than three minutes as the video referees went over the footage, eventually taking the try off the Maroons due to the intrusion by the spectator.

But they were given another set of six on the Blues line and were able to run down the clock and seal another epic series triumph.

It was just the fifth time in 21 games the Maroons have won at the Olympic venue and the first time they have won a decider in Sydney since 2008.

Without skipper Paul Gallen and winger Jarryd Hayne, the Blues toiled hard but failed come up with the killer punch at the crucial time.

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 Johnathan 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 Ryan Hoffman and then James 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.

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