The first State of Origin match in 2003 at a packed Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane was another classic match with NSW coming out the victors by 25 - 12 over a very committed QLD team.
The game had it all. Quick plays, hard hit, injuries and some great tries to please the 52,000 screaming fans at Suncorp.
QLD scored the first try of the Origin series after just 15 minutes but it didn't take long for the NSW fullback Minichiello to hit back with 2 tries and to give NSW the lead at the break by 12-6, with the QLD forwards looking very tired.
The second half showed the Maroons meant business and for twenty minutes the weight of possession went their way, managing to level the score in just 4 minutes.
The score stay deadlocked in the tough bruising encounter until quarter of an hour to go, when NSW managed to run in two tries, and Johns slotted a field goal to put the win out of the reach of the QLD side.
Both sides were run into the ground on various occasions throughout the game, only to grasp any chances coming their way and fire up the team.
So many players on both sides stood up and were counted. Wing for NSW had a great game from the bench, as did Bailey. Ricketson played 75 minutes. For QLD, Tallis lead from the front, Sing and Lockyer were safe at the back. Every player on the field tonight played with their heart on their sleeve, and can certainly hold their heads high, and that is what make Origin football so special.
First win out of three for NSW knowing full well there will be two more matches to get through just as tough as this one tonight at Suncorp Stadium.
Scorers: QLD 12 Tries: Lockyer, Tallis Goals: Lockyer (2/2)
NSW 25 Tries: Minichiello 2, Wing, Johns Goals: John (5/5)
11th June 2003 Kickoff: 8:00PM Suncorp Stadium Crowd - 52,000 Referee: Bill Harrigan
Leagueunlimited players of the match:
3 - L Ricketson (NSW) 2 - L Bailey (NSW) 1 - G Tallis (QLD)
By the clock:
Players on the field for the National Anthem. Tremendous atmosphere and packed house at Lang Park.
5th min: NEWS - As expected a fast and furious pace set by both sides. Excellent ground conditions for playing
6th min: NEWS - De Vere (NSW) gets the first big break in the game, away from Sing down the sideline. Lockyer stops him in his tracks and over the sideline
10th min: NEWS - No score in the game yet. Qld get the first penalty of the match, the NSW defence holds well through the set
13th min: NEWS - De Vere to the blood bin, reopening a gash from an earlier match. First line dropout to QLD. NSW defence holds but another line dropout to QLD
15th min: TRY - Lockyer for QLD. The 2nd line dropout was a beauty from Johns but Lockyer as 1st receiver out wide got outside the defender and through. Lockyer from 4 metres in from touch, converts his own try. QLD 6-0
19th min: TRY - Minichiello for NSW. A line dropout this time to NSW. Great go forward, Minichiello throws the dummy and through. Johns gets the easy kick. 6-6
23rd min: NEWS - A 40/20 kick to Ikin (QLD) gets the Maroons hot on attack. 1st tackle and tremendous defence on Hodges who was pushed out over the sideline
25th min: TRY - Minichiello for NSW. Following the mistake by QLD, Johns kicks down field deemed to be touched by Hegarty. NSW get the scrum feed, two tackles and Tate is sucked in by the dummy runner, leaving Johns to put Minichiello through the gap. Johns from near in front gets the conversion. NSW 12-6
32nd min: NEWS - End to end stuff with NSW nearly scoring, then QLD busting away with a great run by PJ Marsh. Still the score remains NSW 12-6
36th min: NEWS - Bowman(QLD) on for Marsh, last two tackles before having to be helped from the field, a knee injury
38th min: NEWS - QLD hot on attack, Ikin bust the line, passes to Gee who loses it over the line.
HALF TIME: Another great Origin game with tired players ready for a break
Stats at halftime:
The NSW side have completed 16 of 21 sets while the QLD side have completed 15 out of 22. NSW have made 157 tackles, 90 hitups and 22 missed tackles. QLD have made 148 tackles, 88 hitups and 17 missed tackles. The NSW side have made 5 handling errors and QLD have made 9. For NSW the top tackler has been Buderus with 15 and Minichiello has made the most hitups with 12. For QLD, the top tacklers have been Marsh and Civoniceva with 16 a piece and Sing has made the most hitups with 10. Only two penalties have been awarded from ref Harrigan, to Qld
42nd min: NEWS - Bowman (QLD) is still off the field, the knee injury may not be as serious as first feared
44th min: TRY - Tallis for QLD. No stopping Tallis close to the line as QLD were hot on attack. Video ref gave the call back to Harrigan who called the try. A hint of a hand underneath. Lockyer gets the kick from 20 metres in. 12 all.
46th min: NEWS - Hodges (QLD) down with a knee injury, his leg buckling in a tackle. Carroll (QLD) involved in a head clash minutes earlier with Civoniceva. Hodges carted off. Bowman officially out of the game. Marsh back on for Qld. The attrition rate is high for Qld
49th min: NEWS - Ryles (NSW) crawling on the sideline in obvious pain. NSW hit back at QLD who have had the better start to the 2nd half of the match
51st min: NEWS - A jubilant Tallis (QLD) close to scoring, but had knocked the ball on. No change in the score, still locked up at 12 a piece
55th min: NEWS - Hodges(QLD) has ligament damage to his knee, will be out for the game, may be long term
60th min: NEWS - NSW very close to scoring when Johns made the break. He kicked ahead for Lyon out wide, but Sing covered suberbly. The game is opening up but still tied up at 12-12
62nd min: TRY - Wing for NSW. Back to back sets of six had the QLD defence stretched. Quick plays and tired defence, and Wing gets his first Origin try with a beautiful side step to score under the posts. Johns gets the easy kick. NSW 18-12
65th min: NEWS - Line dropout for NSW straight from the kick off. A hard hit on Bailey gives possession back to QLD
70th min: NEWS - Fanastic football. NSW hot on attack only to be kept at bay by some stunning defence.
71st min: FIELD GOAL - Johns for NSW. With solid defence against them, Johns took the best option on the 5th tackle and slotted an easy field goal to give NSW a 7 point buffer. NSW 19-12
74th min: TRY - Johns for NSW. A mistake at the kickoff, back to back sets of six, and QLD just had no answer for the NSW attack. Dead on their feet, the QLD slacked off and Johns punished them. Johns converts his try. NSW 25-12
FULL TIME: Top game by two top sides
Stats at fulltime:
The NSW side completed 30 of 41 sets while the QLD side completed 29 out of 41. NSW made 300 tackles, 192 hitups and 41 missed tackles. QLD made 308 tackles, 169 hitups and 51 missed tackles. The NSW side made 13 handling errors and QLD made 17. For NSW the top tackler was Ricketson with 47 and Minichiello made the most hitups with 21. For QLD, the top tackler was Marsh with 32 and Sing made the most hitups with 18. The penalty count was 4-2 in favour of QLD