Darren Lockyer’s Queensland team-mates ensured their retiring skipper

got his fairytale farewell as the Maroons collected a sixth-straight

State of Origin series with a 34-24 win at Suncorp Stadium.


his record 36th and last appearance in the maroon, Lockyer was outshone

by his brilliant teammates as they ran in six tries to NSW’s four, with

Greg Inglis collecting a double including the clincher 11 minutes from


Billy Slater, Petero Civoniceva and man-of-the-match and

series Cameron Smith also starred as Queensland clinched their first

series-decider at their spiritual home in 20 years.

But while he

wasn’t the star, this was undoubtedly Lockyer’s night, his teammates

racing to embrace the champion five-eighth on the stroke of fulltime,

Johnathan Thurston joining the celebrations in a wheelchair after

suffering a suspected season-ending knee injury.

For all the dominance of Queensland’s five-year reign as Origin champions, never have they produced an opening like this.


on by a record equalling 52,498 crowd, the Maroons refused to let the

Blues into the game, ferocious running backed up a precise kicking game

which forced NSW five-eighth Jamie Soward to come up with five line drop

outs over the opening quarter of the game.

What was amazing was

that the home side had only one try to their name over the period,

Inglis touching down after a deft Johnathan Thurston kick.


had provided the offload to instigate the opening four-pointer, and he

produced the final pass for the second – Sam Thaiday almost running out

of the stadium as he charged over.

Embarrassed by Blues skipper

Paul Gallen in Sydney, Civoniceva and Matt Scott replied in kind and

then some, Civoniceva in what could well be his final Origin appearance

running for 125 metres in the opening 25 minutes.

For a moment it

looked like Lockyer would grab his moment in the sun as he set off

downfield, but he had to settle for providing the impetus for Smith to

crash over from dummy half two plays later.

By the time a Lockyer

kick ricocheted off the legs of Minichiello into the path of Jharal Yow

Yeh to make it 24-0 on 33 minutes – even the most ardent of Blues

supporters were fearing the worst.

“It’s like watching a game of tennis where one player forgot his racquet,” former Blues coach Phil Gould quipped.

It seemed NSW weren’t concerned with trying to mount a counter attack but rather just finding some way to stop the bleeding.


of nowhere, the Blues grasped hold of a band-aid, a fluffed Soward kick

fumbled by four different Maroons before Luke Lewis picked up the

scraps to send Minichiello over for a confidence-boosting try.


their arm, the Blues found another on the stroke of halftime when Mark

Gasnier got on the outside of Thurston to send Akuila Uate in for his

first Origin four-pointer.

Soward then missed a relatively easy attempt at goal which would have brought NSW to within two converted tries at halftime.


Blues coach Ricky Stuart would have been delighted with a 14-point

deficit considering what could have been, and he would have been even

more joyous with the way his side opened the second as the Maroons

uncharacteristically started falling off tackles.

NSW couldn’t come up with the crucial final play, and not even Thurston being taken off on the medicab helped.


it was the home side who iced the game, a beautifully worked play

between Lockyer and Thaiday sent Slater over before Inglis kick-started

the party with his second.

Jarryd Hayne collected a consolation

prize with an eight-point try which landed Smith on report for coming in

late with his knees, before Greg Bird got another just before fulltime.