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CATEGORIES: cameron | cameron smith | final | final game | gagai | game 2 | james maloney | james tedesco | jarryd hayne | man of the match | maroons | origin | paul gallen | queenslanders | series | suncorp | tedesco | th minute | thurston | tyson frizell           AUTHOR: Justin Estrada            DATE: [last-modified]

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Feeling a little State of O’ withdrawal lately? Never fear! Three games of pure adrenaline, hard hits, miracle tries, and so much more await you in 2017. The Queensland Maroons dominance in the last decade is finally showing signs of slowing down, with an aging core led by Cameron Smith & Jonathan Thurston. Across state lines, and Blues fans finally have something to cheer about, with young superstars James Tedesco, Josh Mansour & the imposing David Klemmer coming through.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner css=”.vc_custom_1493864753095{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-right: 25px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;margin-left: 25px !important;}”][vc_column_inner][vc_custom_heading text=”2016 SERIES RECAP” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:24|text_align:left|color:%23ba0000″ google_fonts=”font_family:Carter%20One%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1493796417457{padding-bottom: 6px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

The 2016 State of Origin series kicked off with its usual fanfare at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium. The game featured mostly solid tackling and a couple of missed opportunities early on, with the Blues drawing first blood and the Roosters Boyd Cordner going over for a 4 pointer. The Maroons soon had a penalty converted near the uprights by Thurston, promptly followed by a try to Dan Gagai, a man making only his second origin appearance. The Queenslanders led 6-4 at the half. With big game experience on the Maroons side, they held steady in the second half to survive an attacking onslaught from the Blues and finish the game 6-4. Man of the Match went to the Brisbane Broncos Matt Gillett, and the Blues scampered home to lick their wounds.

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Game 2, and to the cauldron they went. The atmosphere at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium was electric, and to add to the hype, Corey Parker was playing his last Origin game in Queensland. The Blues had the unenviable task of coming into Suncorp needing a win to tie the series up, and take it back to Sydney for the final game. A win in Suncorp would provide a flicker of hope for fans from New South Wales, as it could finally be the start of a changing of the guard for Origin. But first they would have to wrangle out of the near decade long stranglehold the Maroons had them in. The first and second tries went to Dane Gagai, before NSW Blues debutant, Tyson Frizell, crossed the chalk for the Blues first meat pie. Gagai then went on a one-man demolition job, and scored a hattrick of tries, bringing his tally in Origin to five tries in three matches. A James Maloney try against the run of play was not enough to overcome this Maroons juggernaut. A Corey Oates try sealing the game in the final minutes. Final score 26-16. Man of the Match went to the Captain, Cameron Smith.

The final game was held in Sydney, and the Blues vowed to end skipper Paul Gallen’s Origin career on a high. James Tedesco was one man who benefitted from his team’s demise, as a dead rubber was the perfect time to finally blood the Wests Tigers fullback. However, the script started to look all too familiar as the first try in the game went to Greg Inglis. Shifting his phenomenal origin try scoring tally to 18. This motivated Frizell, who put the Blues on the score board with a powerful run to the line before Andrew Fifita crossed again in the second half. Gavin Cooper of the Maroons then followed suit with a try of his own, before some 74th minute Darius Boyd Magic put the Queenslanders in front. In an all too familiar script where the Queenslanders always find a way to win at the death, it looked like another series clean sweep. That was until Michael Jennings scored an amazing try in the 79th minute after a try at the death after a break down the right-hand flank by Blake Ferguson. BLOODY BRILLIANT! Paul Gallen calmly slotted his field goal, and the Blues & Sharks skipper walked off the hallowed Origin turf for the last time. The Man of the Match went to James Maloney, while the Man of the Series went to Cameron Smith. One to watch out for: Tyson Frizell. An absolute beast with the ball and on defense.

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  • Games 1 and 3 will be held in Brisbane with Game 2 in Sydney

  • How will the Blues cope without Paul Gallen?

  • Can the aging Queensland core of Smith, Thurston & Cronk go another series?

  • Billy Slater – will he be back, or have we seen the last of Billy the Kid?

  • Jarryd Hayne – is there a spot for the Hayne Plane in this year’s team? Where would he play?

  • James Tedesco has to be the number one choice at fullback. Where do Matt Moylan & Jarryd Hayne slot in?

  • Who plays hooker for the Blues? Is Jack Bird an option?

  • The Biff – Gagai vs. Klemmer & Cooper vs. Fifita

Now that’s got us excited for this year’s series!