Suddenly, it was that time of year again; “Australia’s greatest rivalry” fight to claim the ultimate title in the NRL (and bragging rights for their state). The State of Origin consists of a three-game showcase of rugby league involving the mighty New South Wales Blues against Queensland Maroons. The real question was would NSW be able to hold onto the shield from last year or would Queensland come back stronger and more determined to win?
The 8th of June 2022 was the start of the three-game series. A sold-out crowd packed with over 80,000 fans at Accor Stadium, showing a sea of blue on one side, whilst a notable a smaller crowd of maroon was seen. Nevertheless, the spirit was high and everyone was ready to watch a great game of footy, from those in the stadium or the many supporters watching the TV in their living room.
It was 8:10 pm and the ball was in the air with a Blues kick-off, it was anyone’s game. With a ruck infringement, kick bomb, and penalty it reached the 14-minute mark. NSW had the ball metres out from the scoring line. A swift pass to Jack Wighton on the outside allowed him to break from the Queensland defence and score a try. 4-0 to NSW! The crowd went completed wild (given it was about 80% NSW supporters), it was looking good for NSW with a good start to the series. However, celebrations may have occurred too early. With a missed conversion kick from Nathan Cleary, NSW stayed in the lead at 4-0. After a sadly lost conversion, the ball was moving on the field again. After another twenty minutes of heart-stopping action, Selwyn managed to break the line of NSW’s defence and score a try 5 minutes from halftime. Unlike NSW, Queensland’s Valentine Holmes achieved a successful conversion, pulling Queensland into the lead at 4-6. It was not long before the NSW’s team was rattled about the score, but kept commitment and possession of the ball, closing towards the scoring line multiple times. Junior Paulo then broke through the Queensland defence and scored an on-field try. However, the celebration and motivation were soon lost as the try was rewatched by the referees and saw that Cameron Murray obstructed the Queensland team resulting in a retraction try for NSW. Luckily for NSW, Cameron Munster from Queensland misses his field goal retaining the same score. Then the air horn sounds signaling half time.
At halftime, the score is 4-6. Will NSW be able to get some extra points, or will Queensland hold their lead for the last 40 minutes of the game?
7 minutes into the second half Cameron Munster had the ball and ran to the sides of the field he found a clearing from the Blues and ran from the 30m line down to ten metres in front of their scoring line. This placed Queensland in a great position to score. With a scrum in place to reset the ball, Daly Cherry-Evans took the opportunity to go on the outside and scored another try for Queensland. With another successful conversion from Valentine Holmes, the score was now 4-12 to Queensland. It was not looking good for NSW.
The blues were still determined. With nine minutes left Cameron Murray got himself the ball and found a good gap in the defence and slammed the ball down within the scoring lines. With Nathan Cleary’s conversion kick, the score was now 10-16. Would NSW be able to make history books with the biggest comeback of all time?
Tension rose in the last two minutes of the game. Maroons were in possession of the ball close to the scoring line multiple times, but NSW kept strengthening their defence stopping any chance at a try from QLD. Finally, the moment everyone had waited for. There were 10 seconds left in the game, and the ball was 10 metres out from the NSW scoring line. Isaah Yeo was in possession however the Maroon’s defence was able to tackle him down less than a metre from the line. After 80 minutes of tense play, the whistle and siren finally blew, with a full-time score of 10-16 resulting in a disappointing loss for NSW.
However, this was not the end. With the next game around the corner, NSW fans are eager to see whether NSW can come back and win Game 2 of the State of Origin? The only way to find out will be to tune in on the 26th of June.