State of Origin: Queensland win decider against New South Wales before 52,000 crowd

Queensland (12) 20
Tries: Holmes, E Lee, Grant Goals: Holmes 4
New South Wales (6) 14
Tries: Tedesco, Tupou Goals: Cleary 3

Queensland won their first series since 2017 with a game-three decider win over New South Wales in front of a 52,000 post-Covid-19 record crowd in Brisbane.

Valentine Holmes and Edrick Lee scored for the Maroons either side of James Tedesco’s response for a 12-6 lead.

Tedesco went off with a head knock before the break as his side were overwhelmed by Queensland pressure.

Holmes’ penalty and Harry Grant’s score gave the Maroons a buffer and Daniel Tupou’s try was not enough in reply.

The game-three decider finished with a touch of controversy when New South Wales’ Josh Addo-Carr was blocked off as he tried to score by Corey Allan, who was sin-binned, and then a captain’s challenge in the final second failed to produce a positive result for the visitors.

Suncorp Stadium’s partisan crowd – just under the capacity of 52,500 – produced an intimidating atmosphere for the Maroons, who showed the intent and performance that brought them success in Adelaide a fortnight ago.

The attendance was higher than the 46,061 crowd at Auckland’s Eden Park last month where New Zealand beat Australia 27-7 in a rugby union Test, the 37,303 that attended the NRL Grand Final in Sydney, the 36,212 that attended the Blues’ Origin game-two victory in Sydney and the 29,707 that watched the AFL Grand Final at the Gabba.

Full capacity was permitted after the limit on open-air stadiums, which had been set at 75%, was lifted by Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

About 2,000 tickets were given to local frontline healthcare workers and emergency services personnel in recognition of their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wayne Bennett’s Queensland suffocated the visitors defensively, and hurt them with quick ball movement and a dizzying array of angles in attack.

Cameron Munster, forced off with a head knock in game two, was outstanding in guiding his side around the field and played a role in Holmes’ early try in the corner before showing great vision with a chip-and-chase to tee up Lee for his score.

New South Wales’ tries were the result of opportunism from Tedesco after Allan spilled close to the line, and a sharp move after back-to-back penalties for Tupou’s finish.

Tedesco collided with the knee of Josh Papali’i and went off, but the switch of Issah Yeo to centre and Clint Gutherson to full-back had mixed results.

There was little evidence of the slick attack from game two until the last 20 minutes, largely because of the Queensland line-speed and energy.

Blues stand-off Cody Walker’s injury late on was an extra sour note for New South Wales, who won the series in both 2018 and 2019.

Original article 18.11.20 on the BBC Sport website.

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