State of Origin: Hayne soars in Blues win


NSW fullback Jarryd Hayne tries to evade Queensland five-eighth Johnathan Thurston. Photo: Getty Images

NSW fullback Jarryd Hayne tries to evade Queensland five-eighth Johnathan Thurston. Photo: Getty Images

In the company of two of the greatest fullbacks rugby league has ever seen, Jarryd Hayne produced one of NSW's greatest individual performances to guide his side within one win of breaking Queensland's eight-year dominance.

After a refuel in Coffs Harbour last week, the Hayne Plane landed at Suncorp Stadium to win man of the match on a night many expected Greg Inglis or Billy Slater to turn the 100th Origin game into yet another Maroons celebration.

The Blues had to withstand an almighty Maroons resurgence in the final 23 minutes of the game, showing incredible desperation in defence to hold on to an inspiring 12-8 victory after one of the most gruelling battles in Origin history.

But it was the enigmatic Blues No.1 who scored a try and played a hand in another to lead the Blues to a 12-8 victory at Suncorp Stadium to give the Blues a 1-0 series lead for the second time in as many years. 

Hayne was the star of the show in game one last year and was unlucky to be pipped for man of the match honours by Luke Lewis, however played no further part in the series after suffering a hamstring injury.

Josh Dugan filled the No.1 jersey for the last two games, but on Wednesday night Hayne sent a reminder of his worth and justified claims in the build up that saw him labelled as NSW's most important player.

While his form at club level is often defined as inconsistent, it's hard to remember him not making an impact in all of the 18 games he's worn the Blues jersey since 2007, even when he's been on the wing.

Coming into last night's game he averaged 4.3 tackle busts and 129.5 metres per game in Origin football, he exceeded both of those statistics on a night that could define him as a representative player.

The Blues came into the game having not won at Suncorp Stadium since game three of the 2009 series, however that night was a dead rubber.

The last time they won a game in Queensland when the series was still on the line was back in game three of 2005, which coincides with the last time the Blues won a series.

The Maroons were dealt a blow of monumental proportions when halfback Cooper Cronk was rushed from the field in just the 10th minute after breaking his arm in the early exchanges.

Brett Morris overcame a shoulder injury scoring a try in the first half to finish the match, while his brother Josh had to battle an ankle injury of his own picked up in the second half.

With Greg Bird poised to return from suspension for game two, Beau Scott could find himself in trouble of retaining his position in the side after he missed two simple tackles in the first half that both led to Maroons line breaks.

The first try came in rather controversial circumstances, with the Maroons awarded a scrum after it appeared that Brent Tate knocked on an unexpected bomb from Nate Myles.

From the ensuing scrum the Maroons swept it through the backline for Darius Boyd to show up former teammate Brett Morris and score his first of two tries on the night.

It was the footwork of Hayne that saw the fullback get around Johnathan Thurston, putting Josh Morris into space, who in turn set up his brother Brett for NSW's opening try of the night.

A penalty in the ruck against the Maroons allowed Hodkinson to make up for his earlier conversion miss, slotting over a penalty from in front of the sticks to give the Blues a 6-4 lead after 26 minutes.

But it was another dose of Hayne magic on the stroke of half time that sent the Blues into the sheds up by six, rolling out of a tackle from Thurston and stretching out to plant the ball down despite a swarm of Maroons jerseys on top of him.

It was a Hayne bomb and chase which saw Slater come up empty handed that paved the way for the next points, with the Blues winning another penalty after retaining possession.

Hodkinson's second penalty goal of the night put the Blues in front 12-4, but when Boyd crossed for his 14try in 18 appearances, the margin was reduced to just four with 22 minutes remaining.

NEW SOUTH WALES 12 (J Hayne B Morris tries T Hodkinson 2 goals) bt QUEENSLAND 8 (D Boyd 2 tries) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Ben Cummins. Crowd: 52,111. 

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