NSW Blues dominate, QLD Maroons win

Before a crowd of 82,259, the Blues had one hand on the shield when they withstood a second-half Maroons onslaught to lead 16-12 entering the dying stages of Origin II.

Thurston stepped up amid a stadium full of boos to clinch a famous Maroons win. However, the jubilation was short-lived for Hayne, as the kick-off bounced awkwardly and Will Chambers flattened his opposite number.

Wayne Bennett has pointed out a game-defining error from Jarryd Hayne as one of the key reasons the Blues failed to claim the series on home turf on Wednesday night. Plenty felt he should have been there to start the series given his red-hot return to form after two years out injured but the big loss in Game 1 sealed it. Slater's 11 games for the Storm this year have him on team-highs in tackle busts (52), try assists (11) and offloads (21) with five tries and seven line breaks.

"I've seen it in the past where you get there on the night but you're completely flat".

But given the dominance of NSW in the opening match, it's something Queensland is likely to have to get used to given the way the Blues played in the series-opener.

And while Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater - two of the greatest Origin players of all time - return for the Maroons tonight, their presence will do little if the NSW pack dominates like it did in game one.

"Yes, it's great to have all that support behind us, because it feels great, but it can change pretty quickly and Queensland have been the champions for so long and to beat them would be something special for our group of guys". He did, however, miss three tackles, one of which against Josh McGuire led to a Dane Gagai try.

Former Queensland coach Bennett, however, did not agree when asked on Thursday about the crucial botched try, which would have put NSW 20-6 ahead approaching half-time.

NSW had possession on two more occasions before the game finished but were unable to find a breakthrough.

"When you've got a player ..."

Gagai's first try in the 53rd minute started the Queensland comeback and his second with three minutes remaining off a flick pass from Michael Morgan leveled the match before Thurston's winning goal.

Interchange: 14. David Klemmer, 15.

The Blues also outkicked Queensland by 772 metres to 661 to ensure the Maroons were hemmed in their own territory for far too much of the contest.

The Maroons have kept this year's Origin series alive with an unbelievable effort in the final minutes of the game.

Queensland have two defensive problems they need to address.

Televised: Channel Nine - Live from 7:30pm AEST. But they realise the challenge has been set and the challenge is to go out there and be better than we were in game one because Queensland definitely will be.

"To be honest, it'll be quite an emotional week for the Queensland team [because] one of our legends is finishing up".

"It's always hard because you're never too far in front - Origin can swing pretty quickly", Daley said. Johnathan Thurston, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8.

  • Julie Sanders