Maroons' State of Origin reign continues

03:08, Jul 06 2012
State of Origin III
Paul Gallen of the Blues is tackled during game three of the State of Origin series.
State of Origin III
Brent Tate of the Maroons is tackled during game three of the State of Origin series.
State of Origin III
Brent Tate of the Maroons punches Greg Bird of the Blues during game three of the State of Origin series.
State of Origin III
Darius Boyd of the Maroons celebrates after scoring a try during game three of the State of Origin series.
State of Origin III
Brett Morris of the Blues scores a try during game three of the State of Origin series.
State of Origin III
James Tamou of the Blues is tackled during game three of the State of Origin series.
State of Origin III
Johnathan Thurston of the Maroons celebrates after scoring a try during game three of the State of Origin series.
State of Origin III
Josh Morris of the Blues takes on the defence during game three of the State of Origin series.
State of Origin III
Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston of the Maroons celebrate victory after game three of the 2012 State of Origin series.
State of Origin III
The Maroons celebrate victory after game three of the 2012 State of Origin series.

Super Cooper Cronk ensured the Queensland Maroons sent warhorse forward Petero Civoniceva out a winner when they extended their State of Origin success sequence to seven straight series victories in Brisbane late last night.

But Mal Meninga's Maroons needed a long-range field goal by Cronk to secure an enthralling  21-20 victory over New South Wales to celebrate a 2-1 series win before 52,000 partisan fans at Suncorp Stadium.

It was the send-off Queensland sought for Broncos prop Civoniceva, 36, playing his 33rd and final Origin game, in his final first-grade season. Civoniceva said it was ''an unbelievable'' way to bring down the curtain. ''I'm just so happy for Queensland, the boys dug deep.''

Robbie Farah
New South Wales' Robbie Farah is coralled by Petero Civoniceva and Dave Taylor.
Mitchell Pearce
Mitchell Pearce is tackled over the top by Dave Taylor.
Queensland fan
A Queensland fan holds up seven fingers, as the Maroons hope to make it seven straight series wins.
Seal sings
Seal sings during pre-match entertainment, with New South Wales fans in the background.
Brent Tate
Queensland wing Brent Tate is lifted and dumped in the tackle by three Blues players.
Cooper Cronk
Cooper Cronk is given 10 minutes in the sin-bin after holding back Todd Carney.
Brett Stewart
New South Wales players swarm Brett Stewart after one of his two tries.
James Tamou
New South Wales second-rower James Tamou is dragged down by three Queensland players.
Greg Inglis
Greg Inglis goes over for his Queensland record 14th Origin try.
Todd Carney
NSW halfback Todd Carney (right) poses for a photo with fans after the victory.

New South Wales started promisingly, recording the first try to winger Brett Morris but then Maroons playmaker Jonathan Thurston stepped up. The North Queensland Cowboys star shone with his speed off the mark, eye for a gap and super cut-out passes.

Queensland were without injured star fullback Billy Slater but in Cronk, Thurston and captain Cameron Smith,  they had plenty of playmaking options and ample experience in Civoniceva, former Warrior Brent Tate and second rower Sam Thaiday to close out a thrilling series.

Two late tries by Thurston and centre Justin Hodges gave Queensland a 16-8 lead after an explosive first half. The opening 40 minutes was littered with flare ups, the first just two minutes into the clash.

Advertisement

State of Origin I
Blues fans show their support before the first State of Origin series match at Etihad Stadium.
State of Origin I
Maroons fans show their support before the first State of Origin series match at Etihad Stadium.
State of Origin I
Players from both side fight during game one of the State of Origin at Etihad Stadium.
State of Origin I
Michael Jennings of the Blues is sent off by the referee during game one at Etihad Stadium.
State of Origin I
Players from both sides fight during game one at Etihad Stadium.
State of Origin I
Akuila Uate of the Blues celebrates after he scored a try during game one at Etihad Stadium.
State of Origin I
Cooper Cronk of the Maroons is dumped in a tackle during game one at Etihad Stadium.
State of Origin I
Greg Inglis of the Maroons fends off Josh Morris of the Blues during game one at Etihad Stadium.
State of Origin I
Darius Boyd and Johnathan Thurston of the Maroons celebrate a try during game one at Etihad Stadium.
State of Origin I
Darius Boyd of the Maroons scores a try during game one at Etihad Stadium.
State of Origin I
Greg Inglis of the Maroons scores a try during game one at Etihad Stadium.

Blues hooker Robbie Farah showed great courage to stay on the field after being knocked senseless just before winger Brett Morris  put NSW ahead 8-0 with a converted try in the 13th minute. Five-eighth Todd Carney had kicked a penalty goal five minutes earlier.

Queensland struck back in the left corner through winger Darius Boyd who scored his third try of the series and hit the lead in the 32nd minute after Thurston handled three times and converted his own try to lead 10-8.

Worse was to come for the Blues with centre Justin Hodges crossing untouched in a controversial try three minutes later.

Farah threw his arms in the air appealing for obstruction before video referee Steve Clark flashed up the green light.

Thurston's conversion made it 16-8 at the break.

But Manly fullback Brett Stewart pulled the Blues back from the brink with his fifth Origin try in his eighth game after slick work by hooker Robbie Farah. Carney's conversion cut Queensland's lead to 16-14, making the next score vital.

NSW were penalised in front of their posts, allowing Thurston to extend the advantage to four points. He slotted another after a swinging arm by NSW forward Tony Williams struck Cronk.

But Josh Morris joined brother Brett on the scoresheet, leaping high over Boyd to catch a clever cross kick from Carney and dot down in the corner. Carney kept his cool to slot a superb sideline conversion to tie the score at 20-20.

Cronk plonked over the game-breaking field goal seven minutes from fulltime.

Queensland 21 (Darius Boyd, Johnathan Thurston, Justin Hodges tries; Thurston 4 goals; Cooper Cronk fg) New South Wales 20 (Brett Morris, Brett Stewart, Josh Morris tries; Todd Carney 4 goals). HT: 16-8.

AAP