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RugbyL: NSW win epic Origin opener over Queensland

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

New South Wales withstood a second-half Queensland siege to win a titanic opening State of Origin rugby league match 12-8 in Brisbane on Wednesday.

The Blues, trying to deny Queensland a ninth straight Origin series victory, won an opening match at Brisbane's Lang Park fortress for the first time since 2003, in front of 52,000 fans.

Inspired by fullback Jarryd Hayne and a spirited defence, Laurie Daley's Blues held on to go one-up after leading 10-4 at halftime.

Hayne, the man-of-the-match, scored a determined try and had a prominent role in his team's other try by winger Brett Morris -- as well as making several crucial saves during the Queensland onslaught.

It was an outstanding spectacle for the 100th Origin game, with NSW dominating the first half and Queensland throwing everything at the Blues' defence in the second.

The series will move to Sydney's Olympic stadium for the second match on June 18, where Queensland will be bidding to keep their hopes alive.

The final match is in Brisbane on July 9.

Queensland scored after five minutes with a beautifully-worked backline move off a scrum win to give winger Darius Boyd space outside to score.

But the Maroons suffered a setback when they lost Test scrum-half Cooper Cronk with a suspected broken arm.

Hayne was mighty for the Blues. He engineered their opening try by getting outside his man to set up winger Brett Morris to score in the 20th minute.

Rookie scrum-half Trent Hodkinson kicked NSW to the front with a 26th-minute penalty goal, but his Canterbury Bulldogs teammate Josh Reynolds was put on the referee's report for a lifting tackle on Brent Tate.

Hayne put the Blues further in front with a determined try seven minutes from half-time, wrestling his way through tackles to plant the ball over the line for a 10-4 half-time lead.

Hodkinson kicked the Blues to an eight-point lead four minutes after the resumption as the Maroons stepped up the intensity before their roaring fans.

Boyd scored his second try after splendid lead-up work from Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis, to put the home side within four points with just over 20 minutes remaining.

The Blues needed some heroic defence to keep out the Queenslanders, with Brett Morris blocking what would have been a Boyd hat trick of tries with six minutes left.

The Maroons battled for a converted try right up to the full-time siren, only to be denied by the resilient NSW on-line defence.

rsm/sm

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140528/rugbyl-nsw-win-epic-origin-opener-over-queensland