After a lacklustre start to a lacklustre series, QLD opened up the game with an early try borne of a crafty kick into the NSW zone. Four points up looked like a handy lead in a low scoring game riddled with mistakes.
And that kind of thing isn't going to impress a state that isn't terribly "into" Rugby League. The amount of seats given away on the street to avoid empty seats on the television has not been disclosed.
NSW looked moderately asleep and barely conscious until about the 27th minute, when Grothe intercepted a cutout pass 3 metres out from his own line and ran 97 metres to bring the scores to 4 - 4.
Playing better than the debacle of the 2nd game, NSW returned to their average form for the remains of the half, yet managed to defend the even score.
A little over one hour into the game saw the play once again being reviewed by West, as Cooper knocked on from a well placed kick, which would have seen a much nastier lead from NSW. QLD at this point looking rather sheepish, apart from Thurston and Tate who managed a brief counterstrike, only to be thwarted by a flying Hodgson who buggered things up by getting in the way.
The second half began with a rude awakening and a lucky let off for NSW, as Carroll latched onto a Grothe mistake for what looked like an easy try. It was not to be, however. In fact, it seemed to light a fire under in the wretched belly of NSW who took the ball up the other end of the field and EVENTUALLY put the ball over the try line in the arms of King.
Then, moments later, Grothe was over with some sketchy ball work off a well placed kick. The third umpire seemed to the only one to spend a lot of time thinking about the legitimacy of the try. This will be the talking point around the office cliches tomorrow.
West in his lofty Ivory Refereeing Tower deemed it to be a valid try, which opened the NSW lead to 14-4, after the conversion attempt was more akin to the last game's effort.
This seems to be the kick in the nuts to the QLD effort, as they didn't seem to do too much until the 70th minute, when Thurston began a break that ended with Schicovski ending up with the try. Then, seconds later, Lockyer managed to scramble and score again for OLD to push them 2 in front to make the score 16-14 with 5 minutes to go.
A brief flurry of activity saw no change in the score, as QLD clinch a dismal series. NSW to be congratulated for assisting them to do so; handing away a sweet lead by taking their eyes off the prize and sleeping on the job. With a final score of 14-12 indicative of a low scoring/high screw up match, hopefully the game becomes financially viable "down there", otherwise ensuring a series decider with miserable game play in Queensland was all for nought. These men are paid too much to play this badly.
Reviewed on Wednesday, 5 July 2006