Almanac Rugby League – State of Origin: Game 3, 2016

@hamishneal

Like the way of the five metre gap in defence looking at the points you may have missed from the third game of the State of Origin series. New South Wales scored a dramatic 18-14 triumph but Queensland had already secured the series victory after winning the first two games in Sydney and Brisbane respectively. Unlike our normal column you likely saw the contest but here are some things we have picked out from the game at ANZ Stadium which saw Queensland miss the chance to claim a fifth clean-sweep.

NSW centre Michael Jennings scored 69 seconds from full-time try to seal the win after Queensland’s Darius Boyd swooped through four minutes earlier to put the visitors in the lead after the game sat on 12-10 in favour of NSW for 22 minutes of the second half.

After the first 40 minutes NSW had been tackled 36 times inside the Queensland 20-metre zone for only one try. Contrast that with the Queensland figure of seven which saw the visitors score in one of their only two sets in the NSW 20-metre zone. NSW were simply too predictable in their play, even attacking against only 12 players in the last nine minutes and 20 seconds of the first stanza with Queensland’s Cooper Cronk sin-binned.

Each side’s first try in the second period was controversial with NSW, on the back of an eventual 12-3 penalty count having had a mountain of possession, getting lucky with Andrew Fifita’s try which should have been struck out after Jennings presence distracted Justin O’Neill from possibly going after the eventual try-scorer. Nine minutes later Fifita was back in the centre of the action again reacting to Gavin Cooper’s post-try action of dumping to ball on the head of defender Matt Moylan. Fifita charged into the post-try fray from a fair distance away and grappled Cooper from behind towards the ground. The action was shades of his club captain Gallen recently and resulted in a ten-minute sanction. Interestingly no points were scored when the game was down to 13 on 12 twice.

NSW skipper Gallen bid farewell to the Origin arena having a hand in the final try and also slotting the final conversion. Compared to his game two effort of 93 metres gained Gallen went ten metres better and also made 36 tackles. For the second game running Aaron Woods (136 metres) topped the Blues’ forwards output. Not surprisingly, given they had 13 less sets of possession, none of the Queensland forwards topped the 100-metre mark with Josh McGuire (94 metres) and Matt Scott (92 metres) the best for Kevin Walters’ side in that regard.

As with game two in Queensland New South Wales got joy in the youth fixture this time with a 36-22 triumph over Queensland in the Under 20s clash to complete a sweep for the evening. After leading 24-4 with 30 minutes to go a late Queensland revival wasn’t enough and Dean Pay’s team delivered some joy for the early arrivals on Wednesday evening. Interestingly it was six tries to five with Queensland let down in the goal-kicking department by Melbourne Storm youngster Brodie Croft slotting only one goal from five attempts. That’s now five consecutive wins in the fixture for the Baby Blues.

This review first appeared on From the sideline of sport

About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.

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