Queensland have been left to lament a controversial incident not seen since 1981 after losing the Origin series to New South Wales in a Game II classic in Sydney on Sunday night.
The Blues had to hang on with a man in the sin bin as Queensland staged a customary second half fight back but it wasn’t to be as the Blues clinched the 18-14 win and an unassailable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three game series.
MATCH REPORT: Brave Blues clinch Origin series after Game II classic
However, the biggest talking point came when the Queenslanders were 10-6 up in the first half and the Blues were attacking their tryline.
James Maloney put in a kick which Boyd Cordner was racing to get his hands to but the Blues skipper’s run was obstructed by Ben Hunt.
Upon consultation with the bunker, Hunt was adjudged to have professionally fouled Cordner and the Blues were awarded a contentious penalty try.
Remarkably, it marked the first such incident in Origin in 37 years.
“It’s a penalty try in my eyes, Maroons great Johnathan Thurston admitted on Channel Nine’s post-match coverage.
But it proved a decisive subject with debate raging between fans on social media.
Cmon Vossy…We were Ripped off..Penalty Try Yeah right! somebody needs to go to Spec savers 👀
— david lee (@batgo1) June 24, 2018
— Nathan Lung (@KVG_Mangi) June 24, 2018
I thought penalty try all the way. When the ball was kicked I though Cordner had it in the bag. Right call imo
— Scott Peterson (@Big_petes) June 24, 2018
It was absolutely a penalty try and he should have been at least sent to the bin for a professional foul
— Stephanie (@Maddison26) June 24, 2018
That’s a new interpretation of a penalty try. I understood you had to at least have possession before or after being fouled.
— Chris Garry (@ChrisGarry7) June 24, 2018
NSW still did it the hard way, overcoming the sin binning of James Roberts in the 69th minute for obstructing Gavin Cooper as he tried to reel in a Hunt kick to score.
Queensland threatened to break NSW hearts yet again when returning hero Billy Slater celebrated his landmark 30th Origin by helping the visitors race to a 10-0 lead after just 20 minutes.
Instead of Independence Day for the Blues it loomed as Groundhog Day.
However, the Blues rallied to ensure Brad Fittler became just the sixth NSW coach to claim the Origin title in his first series.
NSW backed up their 22-12 game one win with victory in the first Sunday night Origin game in 17 years.
Sadly, Cordner may not remember the famous victory – he was helped off the field in the 75th minute with concussion.
NSW held a 12-10 halftime lead after the early Queensland onslaught when wingers Valentine Holmes (13th minute) and Dane Gagai (20th) crossed inside the first 20 minutes.
— NRL (@NRL) June 24, 2018
It could have been worse for the hosts with Gagai denied a try by the video referee in the eighth minute when he found the speedster’s leg was in touch.
After saving a try with his desperate tackle on Gagai, Josh Addo-Carr then scored one of his own in the 25th.
The match then seemed to be turned on its head when Cordner was handed the rare penalty try.
NSW centre Latrell Mitchell scored a soft 50th minute effort but went from hero to villain when his turnover gifted the Maroons field position and centre Will Chambers crossed in the 63rd.
Veteran fullback Billy Slater did his best to spark Queensland after overcoming a hamstring injury that forced him to miss game one while the long awaited Origin debut of Kalyn Ponga showed glimpses of brilliance.
The dead rubber will be held in Brisbane on July 11.