Laurie Daley calls for new refs after Blues loss

AFTERMATH: NSW coach Laurie Daley has called for the referees at State of Origin 1 to be dumped after they made numerous calls against the Blues.

"I'll be asking for those two referees not to be officiating in game two. There's your story," Daley said.

Daley was asked why.

His response was short.

"Based on history and based on that game."

Queensland coach Kevin Walters agreed his troops got the best of the calls.

"We did get some nice calls, some favourable calls," Walters said.

"You need that to win at this level, you can't do it by yourself. You do need some assistance in different areas and have a bit of luck, and that was the case for Queensland tonight."

A try by NSW was overruled by officials in the bunker after repeated replays were examined, showing Josh Morris was held up and unable to get the ball across the line.

The Maroons got another let-off when a knock on-decision against Queensland close to their line was overturned.

But again, that call was made in the bunker.

For the record, the penalty count was even: 4-4.

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Dane Gagai of the Maroons, (right), celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during State of Origin Game I.
Dane Gagai of the Maroons, (right), celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during State of Origin Game I.

MATCH WRAP: Queensland's champion side gave rookie coach Kevin Walters the perfect start to his Origin coaching career as the Maroons put themselves in the box seat to win their 10th interstate series in 11 years with a gritty 6-4 game one victory in Sydney.

In a dour, defence dominated 80 minute arm wrestle, Queensland dug deep as they have in so many of the previous 106 Origin clashes.

Despite looking out on their feet a number of times in the second half, they withstood all the Blues could throw at them, and they threw plenty.

Queensland though had a huge slice of luck in the space of two minutes with two massive calls by the Bunker going in their favour, much to the agony of a majority of the 82,251 fans who were on the edge of their seats for the pulsating final 20 minutes.

NSW centre Josh Morris looked to have put the Blues ahead when referee Gerard Sutton ruled he had scored a try in the 65th minute which electrified the big crowd.

But the game's $2 million Bunker ruled Morris failed to ground the ball with a Queensland hand underneath it.

The Maroons got another let-off when a knock on-decision against Queensland close to their line was overturned.

NSW threw everything at Queensland in the final 10 minutes but could not find a hole as Maroons halves Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk, who was in danger of missing the game with an ankle injury, controlled the dying minutes.

It was deja vu for Queensland as they have been in similar position so many times.

The Blues through, with new halves Adam Reynolds and James Maloney combining well, certainly showed Queensland will have to go up another notch as with four new faces they will be better for the game.

History now suggests Queensland will go on and take out the series, either at home in Brisbane later this months or back at ANZ Stadium in July.

Thurston was magnificent again, right to the last play of the game where he kicked in goal and then forced a repeat set.

NSW hooker Robbie Farah clocked up a staggering 52 tackles with Josh Jackson getting through 36 in a

"Origin is all about effort, not the best plays. It's about how tough you are when the going gets tough," said Queensland captain Cameron Smith who in his 37th Origin game broke Darren Lockyer's record.

"It's great to go past one of your records (Darren Lockyer) you were one of my heroes growing up."

Maloney summed up the Blues after the game: "It hurts mate, it hurts".

FULL-TIME WRAP: The Maroons displayed their typical Origin spirit to hold out a desperate Blues outfit in a scoreless second half.

The Blues came within centimetres of winning the crucial first match of the three-game series when centre Josh Morris went painstakingly close to scoring in the 66th minute.

Forwards Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday, Josh Papalii and Josh McGuire led the way for the Maroons in a game predominately played up the middle of the field.

Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk showed a high deal of courage to battle through a highly-publicised ankle injury.

Record breaker for the most Origins, Queensland hooker Cameron Smith, was once again very solid with 54 tackles in a nerve-jangling first Origin of 2016.

FINAL QUARTER: It's been a dominant third quarter of the match from New South Wales but Queensland has clung on admirably to its 6-4 lead.

The Blues have benefitted from the grunt of Andrew Fifita and David Klemmer off the bench, but the visitors have courageously held their lead.

Matthew Gillett of the Maroons celebrates after Dane Gagai, (right), scored a try during State of Origin Game I between the NSW Blues and Queensland Maroons, at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
Matthew Gillett of the Maroons celebrates after Dane Gagai, (right), scored a try during State of Origin Game I between the NSW Blues and Queensland Maroons, at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

 

After a momentum swing, a Cooper Cronk grubber trapped Blues winger Blake Ferguson in goal.

He threw a streaky pass to Josh Morris and the ball was on the ground for a nervous couple of seconds, but he just managed to ground it and give the Maroons a third consecutive set.

But an error early in their third set of six let the Blues off the hook.

Still 6-4 to Queensland inside the final 20 minutes.

 

HALFTIME UPDATE: AFTER a nerve-jangling first half, Queensland holds a 6-4 lead.

The Maroons paid respect to the Blues' tough defence after 15 minutes when, despite dominating field position, Johnathan Thurston nailed a shot at goal for a 2-0 lead.

The Blues bounced back with a try to Boyd Cordner, the towering back-rower crashing over for the hosts to lead 4-2.

But the Maroons team - ever-cool when behind on the score board -scored a try with three minutes left in the first stanza.

 

A sweeping play involving Cooper Cronk, Thurston, Darius Boyd and Justin O'Neill led to a Dane Gagai try in the right-hand corner.

It was brilliant work from the in-form Boyd to hold up the ball before passing to O'Neill, and the super-quick Gagai finished well out wide.

 

 

Thurston missed the conversion attempt.

Queensland up 6-4 at halftime.

 

PREMATCH: First NSW accused Queensland of smoke and mirrors over an ankle injury that had halfback Cooper Cronk in serious doubt for the game.

Queensland's response on game eve was to leak reports NSW had left key notes of their game plan on a whiteboard in a dressing room at ANZ Stadium which the Maroons used for their final match preparations.

It's the tit-for-tat and pre-game antics that is Origin.

The media box at the ground was abuzz with good-natured jibes between rival journalists hours before the game about the authenticity of "whiteboard-gate".

Did anyone take a picture of the whiteboard which allegedly contained the Blues' tactics which included targeting Cronk and five-eighth Johnathan Thurston?

Shock, horror, NSW are going to target Queensland's best two organisers outside skipper Cameron Smith.

What next?

You mean they are going to test out Origin rookies Corey Oates, who incidentally has been sensationally backed to score the first try of the match on debut, and fellow debutant Justin O'Neill with pressure tactics?

 

Melbourne Storm halfback Cooper Cronk and Queensland Maroons team manager Steve Walters in camp ahead of Game 1 at ANZ Stadium.
Melbourne Storm halfback Cooper Cronk and Queensland Maroons team manager Steve Walters in camp ahead of Game 1 at ANZ Stadium.

As former Queensland centre Justin Hodges said of the whiteboard reports: if that happened it'd be pretty silly.

"You don't want to give away your game plan. If you look at guys like Thurston and Cronk, those are guys you always target. And it's vice-versa - Queensland will target Adam Reynolds and James Maloney as well. It goes both ways."

The Blues of course have denied leaving their "game plan" on the white board.

Those who know NSW coach Laurie Daley well, say he doesn't even use a whiteboard.

It just adds to the mystery, drama and hype that comes with State of Origin.

It is all part of the theatre that surrounds the biggest rugby league event of the year outside the grand final.

 

Queensland State of Origin coach Kevin Walters before the captain's run at ANZ Stadium in Sydney yesterday (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Queensland State of Origin coach Kevin Walters before the captain's run at ANZ Stadium in Sydney yesterday (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

Queensland confirmed Cronk would play his 16th Origin this morning after he had been in doubt with a sprained ankle since Friday following a training mishap at training at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast.

The Blues of course said the injury was a furphy.

It didn't matter to them that Cronk missed three vital training sessions, it was a ploy by rookie coach Kevin Walters which the Blues weren't buying.

Meanwhile the forecast rain circling Homebush a few hours from kick-off was holding off and the playing field was in good condition as the Under 16s ripped into each other in one of the curtain-raisers.



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