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The Rock-itt : August 2010
State of Origin 3 The 2010 State of Origin concluded at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on the 7 July with the Queensland Maroons completing a 3-0 whitewash of the NSW Blues. The win was just the icing on the cake of what was a record-setting 5th straight series triumph for the Cane Toads. Although the game was a dead- rubber it was the most inspired performance that the Blues produced, with the plethora of new faces, including Michael Gordon, Kade Snowden, Tim Mannah, and Manly Sea Eagles Co-Captain, Jason King, providing the spark the home side was seemingly lacking in the first 2 encounters. New South Wales looked the better side early but the juggernaut that is Queensland still managed to streak ahead. A classy back line move orchestrated by Jonathan Thurston saw Darius Boyd cross out wide at the 20-minute mark. With the Thurston conversion from the sideline sailed over the black-dot. The Maroons' next 4-pointer was very soft, only requiring a short ball from Cameron Smith to Nate Myles who waltzed through the defence to score, but on replay the 61,259 strong crowd jeered as Smith's pass looked very suspect. New South Wales probably would have dropped their head and let Queensland have a field day in the first day games, but a much grittier side turned up for game 3 and got themselves back into the game late in the first 40 with Paul Gallen crashing over the line after receiving a short inside ball from Kurt Gidley from dummy half. Queensland's inspirational leader, Darren Lockyer made sure the visiting side would go into half time with a lead greater than a converted try, with a monster drop goal that sailed in excess of 45 metres on the stroke of halftime. The field goal saw the Maroons go into the sheds at halftime with a 13-6 lead. Despite the score line, the Blues looked the more impressive side and their dominance was finally reflected on the scoreboard in the opening stages of the second stanza. The Blues kicked off the second half with a miraculous try to ex-captain Kurt Gidley. On last tackle the Blues forgo the kick and went with a game of hot potato instead. A play where each New South Wales player seemingly possessed the ball, ended with Gidley making a gutsy charge to the line in which he was rewarded with a 4-pointer for putting his body on the line. The Blues should have extended their lead twice in a 10-minute period that would later prove costly for the home side. In the 62nd minute, winger Brett Morris had an open passage to the try-line but his hands let him down, an error costing the host a certain try. The next happened just minutes later when Anthony 'Choco' Watmough busted the line and was tackled, and somehow held up by Queensland fullback, Billy Slater who showed and an enormous amount of upper body strength to stop the man they call 'The Army of One'. The Blues finally got over the line and took the lead for the first time in the 2010 series after Greg Bird crossed in the 69th minute. With all the momentum on the side of the Blues, Bird's try was seemingly the match-winner. And against most teams it would have been. But unfortunately for the Blues, Queensland aren't your average team, and halves Jonathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer were to catalyst one of those famous Maroons origin comebacks that all Blues supporters have come to expect. It was if Queensland just flicked a switch when all of a sudden the Maroons were back to their scary best, making metres at will, finding gaps in the Blues' defence, and all their stars such as Lockyer, Thurston, Inglis, Slater, Thaiday, and Smith stamped their impression on the game. Billy Slater took advantage of the possession the Maroons had suddenly received scoring with just 5 minutes remaining. Thurston converted and in doing so gave Queensland a 1- point advantage. To rub salt into the wounds, Cowboys centre Willie Tonga scored on the siren to hand Queensland a 23-18 victory, capping a clean sweep, and the Cane Toads 5th consecutive series victory. NSW Blues 18 Paul Gallen, Greg Bird, Kurt Gidley tries; Michael Gordon 3 goals Defeated by QLD Maroons 23 Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Nate Myles, Willie Tonga tries; Jonathan Thurston 3 goals; Darren Lockyer Field Goal