NSW have ended Queensland’s nine-year State of Origin hold with a 6-4 win thanks to a late try from Trent Hodkinson.
Trent Hodkinson is the toast of NSW after scoring the try that ended Queensland’s eight-series State of Origin dominance on Wednesday at ANZ Stadium.
The Canterbury halfback, who was considering representing England at the start of the year, scampered over seven minutes from time and then kicked the winning two points to wrap up a 6-4 victory to hand the Blues a first series win since 2005.
In front of a record crowd of 83,421 – the largest at the venue since the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games – Laurie Daley’s side edged out the Maroons in an absorbing and occasionally spiteful clash.
Tempers flared throughout from both sets of players in a match that produced little in free-flowing play but plenty in hard-nosed aggression.
Two Johnathan Thurston penalties, the second of which made him the highest scorer in Origin history (162 pts), overtaking Maroons coach Mal Meninga, gave the visitors a 4-0 lead at halftime.
Queensland had looked like maintaining their incredible record for most of the second half after pinning back the hosts for the early passages of play.
Sam Thaiday looked to have given the Maroons an unassailable lead in the 51st minute following a huge play from Greg Inglis.
The South Sydney superstar pickpocketed the ball from the grasp of Josh Reynolds with a one-on-one strip deep in the Blues’ half of the field.
The ball was fed to Thaiday who barged his way over the line only to lose control of the ball under pressure from Jarryd Hayne.
That let off appeared to turn the game in NSW’s favour and they finally found some attacking verve with their first real sustained spell of pressure.
Finally the Maroon resistance cracked when Hodkinson, criticised by some for not running the ball enough on his debut in game one, threw a dummy that left Ben Te’o grasping thin air as he charged over the line.
He then held his nerve to kick the extras to become the first NSW halfback to win a series since Andrew Johns.
Queensland were denied the services of Matt Scott for most of the game after he limped off on the 20 minute mark and then the visitors lost Brent Tate on the hour with a serious looking knee injury.
A tearful Hayne was barely able to contain his emotions after the game.
“It’s been a long time,” he said.
“We’ve come close so many times and we made a whole lot of errors tonight, but defended so well.”
Maroons skipper Cameron Smith, magnificent throughout for his side, praised his team’s effort.
“It’s been a remarkable run,” he said.
“But we came up against a very good football side and the game was won on one play. But that’s what Origin is all about.”