With the big game between the Reds and the Blues in America ending in an on field brawl that has been referred to the bunker, it was good to see a game in Australia where the two teams abided by the rules.
Unlike their counterparts in the States, the NSW Blues were ahead by a decent margin at half time.
The Adelaide Oval proved to be a great venue for rugby league. The ground was very fast and the breeze meant there was very little dew on the ball. The result was an open game in which the fast NSW backs dominated for the first half.
Queensland did not play badly but their tiimng was just a little bit off and Papali aside they lacked penetration.
After dropping the ball off the kick-off, Damien Cook redeemed himself in the 13th minute by catching a rebound off his own kick and darting over to score. Nathan Cleary converted and the score was 6-0.
At the 20th minute the NSW backs showed their class. Tedesco veered to his right passed to Gutherson who ran to the advantage line and passed to Josh Addo-Carr who went over. Nathan Cleary missed the conversion and the score stayed at 10-0 until half time.
Super-coach Wayne Bennett gave the Reds one of his legendary halftime talks and they came out with a lot more determination. The Queenslanders began to play arm wrestle football, kicking the ball long and defending grimly. The idea was to wear the bigger NSW players down.
After 15 minutes, Kurt Capewell, who had been threatening all night, made a break and kicked in field where the speedster A.J. Brimson collected the ball and pit it down over the line. The try was converted by Cherry-Evans and it was 10-6.
From the kick off Cherry-Evans put Dane Gaggai away. He passed to Xavier Coates and the score was 10-12 to Queensland with the conversion.
At the 65th minute Cameron Munster scored a try from a NSW mistake when he toed a dropped ball through, regathered and scored a try. Cherry-Evans converted and the score was 10-18 in Queensland’s favour.
At 75 minutes the Blues finally remembered how to play football. Cleary passed the ball to Luke Keary and he sent it on to Cody Walker who put Addo-Carr over. The score was 14-18. That was the score at full time.
It was a typical tough state of origin game that left plenty of walking wounded at the end. It will be interesting to see who makes it on to the paddock in Sydney next Wednesday.