Queensland 18-12 New South Wales: Maroons avoid Origin whitewash
Last Updated: 11/07/18 2:33pm
Queensland produced a dominant performance to prevent the Blues from claiming a series whitewash with an 18-12 win in State of Origin III.
The Blues had already wrapped up the series by winning the first two games but the Maroons gave the retiring Billy Slater the perfect farewell with a win in Origin III at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The victory was the Maroons' 10th in the past 12 matches at Suncorp and denied the Blues a first clean sweep since 2000.
Despite their dominance in the first half, Queensland only had a Valentine Holmes converted try to show for it - with that try coming from an interception after a rare attacking set from NSW.
They stretched their lead to 8-0 with a penalty goal after James Maloney was sin-binned for a professional foul on Slater.
However, despite being down to 12 men, it was NSW who went into the break with a 12-8 lead as they hit back with two quick-fire tries.
Jake Trbojevic claimed an interception try of his own in the 37th minute with James Tedesco going over three minutes later to stun the Maroons.
Slater was determined for a winning end to his wonderful career and was everywhere for Queensland with his pace causing all sorts of problems for the Blues defence.
NSW gave away a silly penalty when Tariq Sims lost his head and it was Slater's speed that set up Holmes' second try. He blazed around Latrell Mitchell before offloading to Will Chambers, who then sent Holmes over.
With the scores locked at 12-12 and the Blues' defensive effort beginning to slow them down, the Maroons took the lead when Daly Cherry-Evans celebrated his return to the Origin arena with a try of his own.
Cameron Munster fended off Damien Cook before powering through the tackle of David Klemmer to give Gavin Cooper some space to attack. He drew the defence before sending Cherry-Evans over.
The Blues threw everything they had but fatigue caused plenty of unforced errors and the Maroons held on to send Slater off with a win.