NSW win 2019 State of Origin series with epic 26-20 victory over Queensland in decider

They looked like they had blown it.

From leading 20-8 with nine minutes to play to 20-all, NSW looked gone.

But finally, the Blues pulled a Queensland on Queensland.

NSW secured their first back to back State of Origin series victory since 2005 with an epic 26-20 win over Queensland in Sydney on Wednesday night.

The match looked certain to go to golden point extra-time with the scores level in the dying stages. But, with only 26 seconds remaining, NSW chanced their arm from deep in their own half, with James Tedesco scoring the match-winning try to send the majority of the 82,565 crowd at ANZ Stadium into a wild celebration.

The result was soured for Cronulla fans with their only Origin representative, Wade Graham, forced off with a reportedly torn hamstring late in the second half.

It was a mixed night for St George Illawarra's Origin quartet. Dragons prop Paul Vaughan scored the Blues' first try, while Tyson Frizell gave a typically dynamic performance.

Corey Norman set up Queensland's opening try, registering a try assist just 14 minutes into his Origin debut. While Ben Hunt was again outstanding in a beaten side, energetic out of dummy half and strong in defence.

James Maloney gave NSW the lead with a penalty goal after just five minutes before Queensland scored the opening try. Norman ran to the line and placed a deft grubber kick into the in-goal for Felise Kaufusi to charge through and touch down with Tedesco out of position.

It was difficult for the teams to maintain momentum in the first half, as the referees blew 10 penalties in the opening 27 minutes and 12 overall in the first half. The feeling was that the officials were over-refereeing the contest, with many unnecessary penalties given for minor infringements killing the flow of the match.

An Ethan Lowe penalty goal extended Queensland's lead to 8-2 just before the half hour mark before Vaughan crashed over from close range after a dangerous run and short pass from Damien Cook to level the scores at half-time.

NSW started the second half strongly and looked to have blown the Maroons away with two tries in eight minutes in the second half.

First, Tedesco backed himself and showed good speed and strength to burst past Will Chambers and Dane Gagai to score. Then, Cook produced a sublime individual effort, racing from 30m out from Queensland's try line to give the Blues a 20-8 lead after an hour.

NSW lost Graham to his hamstring injury as the Blues looked to close out the match.

But when Frizell was penalised for an illegal escort, Josh Maguire scored with nine minutes to play having beaten Boyd Cordner one on one to slide into the in-goal with the help of Cook.

All of a sudden it was game on. And Lowe produced what appeared to be the play of the game.

The back-rower charged down a Maloney clearing kick and regained the loose ball.

From the next set, Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans produced a beautiful short pass to send Josh Papalii over untouched. Maloney compounded his previous error as it was he and Cordner who were again beaten down the Blues' left.

Lowe's conversion made it 20-all with three minutes to play.

Queensland looked to be coming home the stronger but NSW were to lift again.

With the clock ticking down and the Blues with the ball deep in their own half they gambled.

A shift to the right saw Mitchell Pearce lob a cut out pass for Tom Trbojevic. The giant centre found Blake Ferguson who burst down the touchline before firing a pass back inside for Tedesco.

And, with just 26 seconds remaining, Tedesco showed great composure to catch the pass behind him, turn and dive over in the corner for his second try of the night - and the match-winner.

So often in State of Origin history it has been Queensland who have had the last laugh, broken hearts at the death and scored the late try.

But tonight it was the Blues' turn. To do a Queensland on Queensland.

Leader Scoreboard

NSW 26 (James Tedesco two, Paul Vaughan, Damien Cook tries. James Maloney five goals)

defeated

Queensland 20 (Felise Kaufusi, Josh Maguire, Josh Papalii tries. Ethan Lowe four goals)

at ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park

Crowd: 82,565

Leader man of the match: James Tedesco (NSW)

NSW win 2019 State of Origin series 2-1

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