Controversial call decides Origin I
"HOW the hell could that be a try? That's ridiculous."
That was the question Blues captain Paul Gallen and every New South Wales player, official and fan wanted to know after video referee Sean Hampstead awarded one of the most controversial tries in Origin history to Maroons centre Greg Inglis in the dying minutes last night, giving Queensland an 18-10 win in Origin I.
Inglis tried to put the ball over the try line, but succeeded only in planting on Robbie Farah's outstretched leg before losing control.
After what seemed an eternity, Hampstead gave the attempt the green light, much to the relief of the Maroons camp, and the disgust of the Blues, particularly Gallen who turned in another outstanding performance.
It was one of the few try-scoring opportunities Queensland had in the second half.
New South Wales was like the boxer unable to deliver the knockout blow, dominating for much of the second 40 minutes.
While Blues coach Ricky Stuart might have been unhappy with the result, he will no doubt remember back to 2005, the last time he coached New South Wales and the last time the Blues came from 1-0 down to win the series.
Stuart's decision to select players like Farah, Jarryd Hayne, Tony Williams and Michael Jennings had been widely questioned, especially Jennings who had been dropped by his club coach Ivan Cleary the previous week.
And after having no involvement in the first 20 minutes, Jennings was given 10 minutes in the bin after racing into a melee and throwing a wild haymaker at Maroons winger Brent Tate.
The game exploded after Maroons prop Matt Scott threw the ball at Greg Bird's head, Blues players coming from everywhere to get involved.
Jennings could then only watch from the changerooms as Billy Slater put Darius Boyd over in the corner six minutes later to open the scoring for Queensland, Johnathan Thurston's conversion putting the Maroons ahead 6-4.
New South Wales had taken the lead in the sixth minute after a pinpoint cross-field bomb from Farah allowed winger Akuila Uate to win an aerial contest against Boyd and slam the ball over the line.
Todd Carney, playing in his first Origin, nervously pushed the attempted conversion well wide of the posts.
Carney had looked dangerous early, drifting across the park and picking up angled runners.
In fact the Blues dominated the first 20 minutes on the back of hard running from the likes of fellow debutant James Tamou and Gallen, not to mention some lamentable marker defence from the Queenslanders.
Farah had a picnic out of dummy half, making valuable yards time and time again.
But the momentum disappeared as the half went on as New South Wales seemed to run out of energy, poor discipline also costing them.
The Blues also had no answer to Inglis who had a field day down the left side of the paddock.
Another try seemed inevitable and it was Boyd who crossed for his second just before half-time, another sideline conversion from Thurston putting Queensland ahead 12-4 at the break.
But that lead was whittled back to two points immediately after half-time when Jennings went from villian to hero, snapping up a loose ball, the third time Billy Slater had uncharacteristically left one behind.
In the end it came down to the controversial try to Inglis which saw him pass Dale Shearer as Queensland's leading Origin try-scorer