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los

Final score NSW beat QLD 17 to 16

State of origin 2 is in Brisbane

State of origin 3 is in Melbourne.

from foxsports :
BRETT Finch was set 24 hours ago to watch Origin I on television; tonight, he is the hero of New South Wales after scoring a try and landing a dramatic long-range field goal to win the series opener at Telstra Stadium.

Finch ... has iced his surpise call-up. Pic: Chris Hyde
Finch was called into the side last night when Craig Gower was ruled out after sustaining a knee injury in training.

But he wasn't the first-choice replacement for Gower.

Blues selectors first checked on the availability of Andrew Johns, who confirmed his retirement from representative football.

They also considered Sharks No.7 Brett Kimmorley and St George-Illawarra's versatile Ben Hornby before going for Finch.

If selectors didn't really want Finch on match eve, they'll be hard pressed to leave him out of Origin II, at Suncorp Stadium in three weeks time, after his heroics at Telstra Stadium, which remains the venue from hell for the Maroons.

Queensland has now lost all 11 Origin matches at the ground since the Sydney fixture was transferred from the Sydney Football Stadium in 1999.

NSW took the lead in dramatic style after 10 minutes, Finch touching down after a 90-metre breakout.

Queensland was hard on attack, and looking likely to score, when centre Brent Tate spilled a pass from halfback Johnathan Thurston.

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NSW centre Mark Gasnier picked up the ball 10m from his own tryline and broke through a tackle before feeding right wing Matt King, who raced down the flank towards the try line.

King was unable to outpace the backtracking Tate, but the Brisbane back was the only defender in sight so the wing simply fed an overhead pass to Finch, who stepped back past the twisting centre before crossing the line.

King, himself, was on the scoreboard seven minutes later, crossing in the right corner after a slick move involving Finch, Brett Hodgson, who completed a run-around to create an extra man, and Gasnier, who displayed the soft hands chased so hard by rugby union to make a no-look pass to the wing.

The Maroons, pre-match favourites for the first match in a long time, then resembled a disorganised rabble in defence as Blues prop Willie Mason crossed in the 21st minute to score NSW's third try.

Finch, acting as first receiver, fed Mason, who rushed past Queensland hooker Cameron Smith and Thurston before riding roughshod over Matt Bowen, brushing off the attempted tackle from the Maroons fullback with ease.

Blues fullback Hodgson, integral in the second try, made his first conversion, grateful for a chance from in front of the posts rather than wide out on the right flank.

If the Queenslanders looked suspect in defence, their attack became disjointed as the half progressed, all the pre-match confidence drained by the Blues' hat-trick.

Steven Bell, a prolific scorer for Manly after his move from Melbourne, had a chance to reduce the deficit right on half-time, Thurston hitting a grubber kick into space on the right flank, but the wing was unable to outstrip NSW defenders Eric Grothe and Hodgson, who combined to drag the Queenslander into touch.

Where the Maroons were poor in the first half, they were magnificent in the second period, scoring three tries of their own to lock the score with four minutes to play.

Queensland pulled itself back into the contest with its opening try 13 minutes into the second period, rookie wing Greg Inglis scoring on Origin debut after twisting to take behind his body a cut-out pass from Lockyer that was destined for the sideline.

Inglis then proved too strong for Gasnier, carrying the Blues star over the tryline to score in the left corner.

Thurston, now playing a more effective role in the Maroons' No.7 jumper, converted the try from the side, the kick never looking likely to do anything other than split the uprights.

The Blues extended its lead in the 64th minute, Hodgson landing a penalty goal from in front of the posts after he had been tackled without the ball while backing up five-eighth Braith Anasta.

That goal seemed to re-fire the Blues, who had been flat for much of the second half, with captain and hooker Danny Buderus and interchange utility Craig Wing inspiring raids into Maroons territory with incisive runs through the ruck.

And the Blues thought they had secured the game when King crossed again with 15 minutes to play.

Gasnier jumped above Tate and Inglis to pull down an Anasta bomb before handing off to his wing, but Inglis recovered well and his desperate attempted tackle on King was enough to dislodge the New South Welshman's grip on the ball as he went to touch down.

Inglis, successfully targeted in defence in the first half, continued his resurrection seven minutes later, scoring his second try with a clean run to the line after Hodgson had spilt a grubber kick from Lockyer.

Thurston, kicking just about from the spot from where he converted Inglis's first score, was unable to land his second goal, hooking the ball to the left of the posts.

NSW was now doing little but hanging on, and Bell on the left flank reduced the deficit further when he outstripped Anasta and Grothe to score the Maroons' third try with four minutes to play.

Thurston proved his kicking genius, landing a difficult conversion from the left sideline, the 'wrong' side for a right-footed kicker. to level the scores, apparently sending the match into golden goal extra time.

But NSW was not to be denied, the Blues conjuring one last attack and advancing the ball far enough to put Finch into position to land an unlikely field goal from 40 metres.
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