Queensland produced a quite brilliant performance to level the State of Origin series with a 26-6 victory over New South Wales.
The hosts were in top form from the off, and looked like a completely different side to the one that lost the opener in-front of 80,380 people at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium a fortnight ago.
It took just two minutes for Queensland to open the scoring in Brisbane, as Sam Thaiday took advantage of some fine inter-play between Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith.
Jonathan Thurston added the extras, and had a fantastic night with the boot with conversions, penalties and in open play.
He added two more points inside the first ten minutes to extend the lead, before Darius Boyd went over in the corner to make it 12-0 after just 17 minutes. Thurston put the ball on a plate for his teammate to go over in the corner, and then added the extras as the game quickly moved away from NSW.
Indeed, the Blues were in serious trouble as the game looked to be getting away from them, and Laurie Daley’s side did well to keep the score respectable at half-time.
The situation didn’t change after the interval however, as Boyd went over once again for Queensland. Thurston missed the conversion after the video ref awarded the try – his only blemish of the evening.
A brief fighting interlude followed, with Brent Tate and Greg Bird both sent to the sin bin as tensions boiled over. Justin Hodges and Nathan Merritt were also shown yellow, as the game briefly became an 11 v 11 affair
It didn’t stop the Queensland charge however, with Greg Inglis scoring just moments later.
The Blues were about to be blanked, but Josh Morris made sure his side got on the scoresheet as he went over with ten minutes left on the clock after a smart kick from Robbie Farah.
James Maloney added the extras with a fine touchline kick, but it was Thurston who had the last word with a penalty as time expired.
The crucial game three takes place in Sydney in three weeks, and NSW will be thankful for the break after an evening to forget at the Suncorp Stadium.