SYDNEY (AP) — A rare penalty try paved the way for New South Wales to beat Queensland 18-14 in the second State of Origin match Sunday and clinch Australia's annual best-of-three rugby league series with a game to spare.
The Blues, beaten by Queensland in 11 of the last 12 Origin series, followed up their 22-12 win in Game 1 to win for the first time since 2014 in front of more than 82,000 spectators at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.
Queensland opened up a 10-0 lead midway through the first half after tries by their two wingers Valentine Holmes and Dane Gagai but the Blues responded with 18 unanswered points then held on grimly in the last 15 minutes when the Maroons tried to rally.
"It was there, it was ours for the taking. We had them on the ropes," Queensland captain Greg Inglis said. "It hurts. I know we could've had it but we shot ourselves in the foot."
New South Wales winger Josh Addo-Carr cut the deficit to 10-6 when he scored out wide and James Maloney converted from near the sideline, then the Blues hit the front after being awarded a penalty try, the first in the series since 1981, after their captain Boyd Cordner was knocked over by Ben Hunt as he chased a perfectly weighted grubber kick from Maloney.
New South Wales stretched its lead to 18-10 early in the second half when Latrell Mitchell crashed over and Maloney again added the extras before the Maroons began their comeback.
Center Will Chambers dived over in the corner to reduce the margin to four points and New South Wales then found themselves a man down for 10 minutes when James Roberts was sin-binned for a professional foul, but they defended superbly to run down the clock and claim the series.
"We were going to have to face adversity at some point, it was how we reacted to that," Maloney said.
"That's Origin. A lot of these guys are playing their first series. They don't understand and don't appreciate the significance of it. It's a special moment and hopefully it's the start of something."
The final game of the series is scheduled for July 11 in Brisbane.