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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Queensland 4-18 New South Wales
By Paul Fletcher

Willie Mason of New South Wales is tackled
Queensland mounted a valiant and courageous defensive effort

Queensland: (4) 4
Tries: Hodges
Goals:

New South Wales: (6) 18
Tries: Hayne, King, El Masri
Goals: El Masri 3

New South Wales won an epic third and final State of Origin match in Brisbane to prevent Queensland claiming a clean sweep in the 2007 series.

Queensland lost several players to injury but defended courageously, trailing only 6-4 until Matt King's decisive try after 74 minutes.

Jarryd Hayne opened the scoring for New South Wales before Justin Hodges struck back for the Maroons.

But after King's try Hazem El Masri extended the victory margin late on.

The series ends 2-1 in favour of Queensland, who missed out on a clean sweep but can take a huge amount of credit for their performance.

Maroons loose forward Dallas Johnson was knocked senseless attempting to tackle Brent Kite in the opening play of the game and a bruising opening phase saw Queensland winger Greg Inglis limp off with a leg injury.

Yet, at least before injuries impacted on tactics, it was a more open contest than the previous two matches, with both teams showing a greater willingness to throw the ball about.

Cameron Smith made a piercing break for the home team but Petero Civoniceva lost the ball later in the tackle count.

Matt Cooper knocked on and Brett Kimmorley lost the ball in dangerous attacking positions as the Blues enjoyed a period of territorial dominance.

And the visiting team did score first when Hayne collected Cooper's pass close to the right touchline and finished superbly from 10 yards after 21 minutes.

El Masri, one of the world's best goal-kickers, added the extras from a tight angle - but within minutes Queensland hit back.

The Maroons worked the ball out wide on the right and Hodges crossed unopposed after taking a delayed pass from Karmichael Hunt.

But the conversion was missed and Queensland's injury headaches intensified when Brent Tate limped off seven minutes before the interval with a knee ligament injury.

Brent Tate (right) celebrates with Justin Hodges, who scored for Queensland
Hodges (left) scored for Queensland

The Maroons still had Johnson off the field and had now lost both starting wingers.

This severely restricted their interchange options, with several of their forwards spending much longer on the field than would normally be the case.

Ryan Hoffman broke downfield for the Blues early in the second-half before passing inside but Queensland showed great desire to recover the situation and prevent a try.

Another New South Wales break saw Cooper closing in on the Maroons line at pace but Steve Bell made a sensational tackle to stop the St George player inches short of scoring.

The Blues were by now comfortably in the ascendancy but repelled time and again as they sought to extend their lead.

Maroons skipper Darren Lockyer occasionally relieved the pressure on his rapidly tiring team with booming kicks downfield, while team-mate Nate Myles left the action injured.

But eventually the pressure told, with King crossing from short range after a cut-out pass from Greg Bird.

And El Masri, making his debut at the age of 31, scored close to full-time to cap a fine first match for the Blues, converting his own try to take his match tally to 10 points.


Queensland: Hunt, Tate, Bell, Hodges, Inglis, Lockyer, Thurston, Price, Smith, Civoniceva, Carroll, Webb, Johnson.
Replacements: Berrigan, Myles, Bowen, Carlaw.

New South Wales: Stewart, El-Masri, King, Cooper, Hayne, Bird, Kimmorley, Kite, Buderus, Mason, Hindmarsh, Ryan, Gallen.
Replacements: Bailey, Simpson, Hoffman, Gidley.


SEE ALSO
New South Wales 6-10 Queensland
13 Jun 07 |  Rugby League
Queensland 25-18 New South Wales
23 May 07 |  Rugby League


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