Origin III: Maroons embarrass Blues with 52-6 win
QUEENSLAND 52 (D Gagai, J Papalii, G Inglis, M Gillett, M Morgan, D Boyd, W Chambers, A Guerra tries; J Thurston 9 goals, J Hodges goal)
NEW SOUTH WALES 6 (M Jennings try, T Hodkinson goal)
THE spirit of Queensland legend Arthur Beetson swept through the Maroons as they replicated the victory he inspired at the same ground 35 years ago to regain the Origin shield.
The breathtaking record 52-6 victory - the biggest margin in Origin history - ensured champion Queensland centre Justin Hodges, who Beetson discovered as a raw teenager, bowed out in his 24th and final Origin a big winner.
Hodges iced his Origin career by converting Queensland's last try by forward Aidan Guerra which sent the record crowd of 52,500 wild.
Just as they did 35 years ago when a young Mal Meninga celebrated his 20th birthday by toe-poking seven goals from seven kicks on an historic evening at Lang Park, Queensland walked off the field to a standing ovation.
Meninga celebrated his 55th birthday on Wednesday night with his ninth State of Origin series victory in 10 years - an extraordinary coaching feat that may never be equalled.
The game almost got away from the referees after prop James Tamou became the fourth NSW player along with Trent Merrin, Trent Hodkinson and Beau Scott to be put on report after what appeared to be a stiff arm on Queensland forward Jacob Lillyman in the second half..
It was NSW's most ill-disciplined Origin performance, and it proved extremely costly on the scoreboard.
The magnitude of the eight-try win brought back memories of NSW's 56-16 demolition of Queensland in the third game of the 2000 Origin series.
Rival captains Cameron Smith and Paul Gallen exchanged words after the second explosive blow up within two minutes in the second half..
This was a Queensland side burning from losing last year's series and driven by talk they were past their use by date after being battered by the NSW forwards in Melbourne.
They answered their critics magnificently once again, ripping through the Blues' giant pack with ease, veteran Corey Parker outstanding off the back of some tough, physical work by Nate Myles, Sam Thaidaym Matt Scott and skipper Cameron Smith in his record equalling 36th Origin.
If the game was not well and truly iced at half time when Queensland led 22-2, it certainly was 12 minutes into the second half when tries to Matt Gillett and Michael Morgan blew the score out to an embarrassing 34-2.
Hodges made it a farewell to remember, calmly scooping back the football from beyond the dead ball line for Gillett to score just two minutes after the break.
Emotions had ran high from the outset with a minor melee in the opening minute when NSW replacement hooker Michael Ennis tangled with his old Brisbane team-mates Hodges.
Things turned nasty in the first half when Merrin and Hodkinson were both placed on report for an ugly tackle on Parker after he was dumped on his head.
Blues enforcer Beau Scott was the next to be put on report for a late first-half tackle on Smith.
"It shows the quality of this side the way we play for each other and stand up for each other. It's quite a proud moment," Smith said
Never miss a minute (second half)
41st: Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk's grubber batted back cleverly by Hodges, with Matt Gillett showing nice poise on the spot to catch and score. Queensland up 28-2.
52nd: Michael Morgan try. Queensland's utility goes over from close range for the hosts to lead 34-2.
55th: Blues prop James Tamou penalised for high shot on Lillyman, after Beau Scott gives away an earlier penalty. Two big melees break out, and the Blues looking very frustrated.
57th: Morgan nice final cut-out pass for Boyd to score in left corner. His 16th try in 23 games for Queensland. Maroons up 40-2.
61st: Michael Jennings scores a runaway try for the Blues but it's too little, late. Queensland up 40-6, and the massive crowd is already in party mode.
Suncorp Stadium record crowd of 52,500 announced.
67th: And it's another Maroons try as the procession continues, Will Chambers diving over out wide off a well-worked backline play. Movement sparked by mercurial halfback Cronk. Maroons up 46-6.
70th: Cronk short kick, scooped up by Inglis. Thurston scores a magical try, but Gillett pulled for being offside at the kick.
78th: Guerra try. Nice angled run off short Inglis pass.
Maroons break the record for the biggest winning margin in Origin history, and the adoring crowd rises to its feet to acknowledge the incredible achievement of this champion Maroons team.
The retiring Justin Hodges to take the shot at goal. And he nails it! Queensland up 52-6.
Magical night for Queensland with the majority of the record Suncorp Stadium crowd hanging around the marvel at their achievement of nine series wins from 10 campaigns.
Brilliant Maroons back-rower Corey Parker wins the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series.
Never miss a minute (first half)
6th: Blues halfback Trent Hodkinson kicks penalty goal for New South Wales to lead 2-0, after Blues prop Aaron Woods held down by opposite Nate Myles. Blues with all the early ascendancy.
9th: Smith roughed up by Woods on the ground in front of the posts, Queensland shot at goal converted by Johnathan Thurston. 2-all.
Earlier, impressive Greg Inglis kick return resulted in Queensland earning a penalty and much needed field position, from the subsequent tackle.
Momentum swings back to Queensland.
12th: Woods penalised for holding down Hodges.
14th: Blues winger Will Hopoate loses the ball after a strong shot from Matt Scott, while bringing the ball out of his own end. Queensland scores off the next set, going wide with debutant winger Dane Gagai diving over in the right corner.
Converted by Thurston for Queensland 8-2 lead.
7:30 PM Origin III: Farah out for NSW Blues
The longest Origin selection drama has finally been settled with NSW coach Laurie Daley finally confirmed what everyone knew a week ago, Robbie Farah is out of tonight's Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium.
Cronulla's Michael Ennis comes into the Blues pack as his replacement in his first State of Origin game since being part of the NSW side which lost the 2011 decider at the same ground.
Queensland are confident skipper Cameron Smith is mentally ready to play after the fallout from Alex McKinnon's comments air on 60 Minutes on Sunday which reportedly shocked the Melbourne Storm and Australian captain.
With just under an hour to kick-off the atmosphere is building at Suncorp Stadium which 35 years ago to the day hosted the very first State of Origin game when the ground was known as Lang Park.
A young centre named Mal Meninga celebrated his 20th birthday that night by kicking seven goals as Arthur Beetson led Queensland to an historic 20-10 in front of 33,210.
Meninga will celebrate his 55th birthday tonight hoping for a similar result for the Maroons as their coach.
NSW broke Queensland record eight game streak last year under Meninga long-time Canberra and Australian team-mate Laurie Daley who is looking for back-to-back wins for the first time for NSW since 2005-05.
The weather is fine and clear and the Suncorp Stadium surface is in magnificent order for a fast-pace clash.