State of Origin 2015: New South Wales 10-11 Queensland

By Matt NewsumBBC Sport
Cooper Cronk and team-mate celebrate
Cooper Cronk's try and drop goal helped Queensland win on enemy soil for only the seventh time in 23 games
New South Wales (10) 10
Tries: Morris, Scott Goal: Hodkinson
Queensland (6) 11
Tries: Cronk, Chambers Goal: Thurston Drop-goal: Cronk

Half-back Cooper Cronk's drop-goal edged Queensland to victory against New South Wales in the first game of the 2015 State of Origin series.

The Maroons, who lost a series for the first time in nine years in 2014, recorded only their seventh win at Sydney's ANZ Stadium in 23 games.

Cronk's score put Queensland ahead before Blues went in front with tries from Josh Morris and Beau Scott.

Will Chambers brought the scores level before Cronk's kick sealed victory.

The second match of the series takes place at Melbourne Cricket Ground on 17 June, with the potential decider on Queensland's home turf at Suncorp Stadium on 8 July.

Having ended the Maroons' dominance of the competition last year, the Blues fancied themselves on home turf but were without inspirational captain Paul Gallen because of injury.

And it was the Queensland spine of Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater, Cronk and Cameron Smith, such a reliable quartet throughout the eight-year success, that proved vital in this encounter.

Will Chambers celebrates his try with Justin Hodges
Will Chambers' try brought Queensland level in the second half

Mal Meninga's visitors, who lost the last two Origin openers, adjusted quicker to the occasion and after Slater's score was ruled out by the video referee, Cronk took advantage of a quick play-the-ball and a dog-leg in the Blues line to cross.

However, in front of a partisan Sydney crowd of about 80,000, Laurie Daley's New South Wales gradually worked their way into the game to establish a first-half lead.

James Tamou put Josh Dugan through a gap and the full-back's dink into space popped up for the onrushing Morris to score, and soft hands from Mitchell Pearce created the position for Scott to go over before the break.

Queensland were the brighter of the two sides in the second period and drew level as a slick wrap-around move to the right put Chambers in for a try.

Smith was held up and Thurston missed a penalty attempt with the Blues on the ropes, but Cronk's drop-goal sailed through to give Queensland a narrow lead.

Dugan's missed kick late on proved the Blues' last opportunity and a late penalty allowed Queensland to run down the clock for the win.

Josh Morris scored for the Blues
Josh Morris scored for New South Wales, who lost the opener for the first time since 2012

New South Wales: Dugan; Hopoate, Morris, Jennings, Tupou; Pearce, Hodkinson; Woods, Farah, Tamou, Scott, Hoffman, Jackson.

Replacements: Merrin, Cordner, Klemmer, Fifita.

Queensland: Slater; Boyd, Inglis, Hodges, Chambers; Thurston, Cronk; Scott, Smith, Myles, Guerra, Thaiday, Parker.

Replacements: Morgan, McGuire, Gillett, Lillyman.

Referee: Ben Cummins (Australia).

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