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State of Origin: New South Wales take the first game of series against Queensland
New South Wales took a giant step towards a drought-breaking State of Origin series win, after taking game one 14-6 against a shell-shocked Queensland at ANZ Stadium.
Fired-up from seven years of heartache, the Blues let their frustrations out with a powerful and gritty performance to win their first series opener in five years in front of just over 80,000 fans.
The home side dominated from the outset with tries to Jarryd Hayne and Michael Jennings opening up a 14-0 lead at the break.
Like they have done many times over the last seven series, Queensland refused to go away and threatened a comeback when Darius Boyd crossed just after the hour mark.
But the Blues defence held strong under the weight of a desperate fightback from the visitors for a well-deserved win.
It was a typical Origin match which had a bit of everything, including the obligatory wild brawl after Blues skipper Paul Gallen traded punches with Queensland forward Nate Myles.
The Blues did not have a bad player with debutants James Maloney, Andrew Fifita and Blake Ferguson all looking comfortable at Origin level.
A contentious knock-on call against Queensland winger Brent Tate gave the Blues the first attacking opportunity and they made it count with Hayne crossing inside five minutes.
And it was one that came straight from the training ground with Mitchell Pearce finding Luke Lewis who caught and passed back inside in one motion to find a surging Hayne. Maloney slotted his first conversion in Origin football to make it 6-0.
A couple of sloppy errors from Lewis and James Tamou finally put the Maroons on the attack but a mixture of poor kicking and desperate Blues defence kept the visitors out.
Maroons skipper Cameron Smith was penalised for a strip, allowing Maloney to extend the lead to 8-0 via a penalty goal after 18 minutes.
The home side were dominant for much of the half but looked like only taking an eight-point lead to the break until Jennings scored a brilliant solo try four minutes before half-time.
After Robbie Farah's kicked was blocked 10 metres out from the Maroons line, Jennings swooped on the loose ball but still had a lot of work to do. The Roosters flyer weaved past two defenders and then ran for the line, breaking through a three-man tackle to reach out and plant it down beside the posts.
The Maroons needed to be first to score after the break and looked to have cut the deficit eight minutes in when Smith crossed only to be denied by the video referee for a double movement.
Prop David Shillington was then held up over the line for the visitors 10 minutes later as the Blues defence stayed strong but there was nothing they could do to stop Boyd with 19 minutes left.
Greg Inglis, who had been anonymous for most of the night, palmed his way out of a Josh Morris tackle before racing down the left and sending Boyd over in the corner.
Smith's sideline conversion glanced the post and dropped over to make it 14-6.
The Maroons tried everything to comeback but it was not to be and they will head back to Brisbane on June 26 to try and keep the series alive.