18 Jun 2015

Blues level State of Origin series

6:01 am on 18 June 2015

New South Wales sent the State of Origin series to a game three decider with a thrilling 26-18 victory over Queensland before a record crowd of 91,513 last night at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

James Tamou State of Origin Two 2015

James Tamou State of Origin Two 2015 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Tries from Michael Jennings, Josh Morris, Aaron Wood and Josh Dugan along with 10 points from the boot of Trent Hodkinson tied up the series after Queensland won the opener 11-10 in Sydney last month.

Queensland, who won eight straight series until New South Wales triumphed last year, will be reflecting on what appeared to have been a second try for Greg Inglis who scooped up the ball lost in a tackle and raced 90 metres for what appeared to be a try in the 67th minute but was ruled out for a knock-on.

New South Wales capitalised on the turnaround to with a try two minutes later that have them an 8-point lead going into the final 10 minutes.

Michael Jennnings, who opened the scoring before Queensland had even touched the ball, was named man of the match.

The Blues skipper Paul Gallen suffered a rib cartilege injury in the first half but played on after a pain-killing injection, and coach Laurie Daly says the team doctor's reasonably confident Gallen will be fit for the decider on the 8th of July.

The NRL's decision to bring their jewel in the crown back to Australia's biggest and most iconic sports stadium on Wednesday night, for the first time since 1997, was rewarded with an attendance of 91,513.

It was the largest-ever crowd for an Origin encounter, bettering the 88,836 who fronted up to the brand-spanking new Stadium Australia back in 1999, the year before it was the centrepiece of the Sydney Olympics.

New South Wales celebrate State of Origin Two 2015.

New South Wales celebrate State of Origin Two 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Of course the MCG has a proud Olympic link as well, which was noted in the minute's silence before Wednesday night's game in honour of distance running legend Ron Clarke, who passed away earlier in the day aged 78.

The focus then shifted back to what turned out to be an Origin classic.

The crowd was predominantly pro-Queensland, which could be broadly put down to two reasons.

The only three Melbourne Storm players on the park - Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Will Chambers - were all wearing Maroon.

And, perhaps even more importantly, Queensland isn't New South Wales.

Not that it seemed to bother the Blues much.

Presumably they - and the NRL - will be more than happy to get back to Melbourne and the MCG in 2018.

BIGGEST STATE OF ORIGIN CROWDS

91,513 at MCG, game two, 2015

88.836 at Stadium Australia, game two, 1999

87,161 at MCG, game two 1994

83,813 at ANZ Stadium (Stadium Australia), game three, 2013

83,421 at ANZ Stadium, game two., 2014

83,110 at ANZ Stadium, game two, 2012

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