Brown slots late winner as Maroons keep Origin series alive

A Lauren Brown field goal with two minutes to play sealed an 11-10 win for the Maroons in an epic State of Origin contest in Newcastle on Thursday night.

In front of record women’s Origin crowd of 25,782 the Maroons dug deep to keep the series alive after trailing by six points with 10 minutes to play.

After a physical opening with both sides trading sets in the trying conditions it was a storming run by Sky Blues centre Jess Sergis that provided field position for the game’s opening try.

Having entered the game off the bench just three minutes earlier it was Keeley Davis who jumped into dummy half and got down low to scamper over for a four-pointer which Rachael Pearson converted for a 6-0 lead.

The Maroons had a chance to hit back in the 29th minute when Evania Pelite surged onto the ball and four NSW defenders were needed to deny her.


Keeley Davis Try

A high tackle on Sergis by Maroons interchange forward Keilee Joseph forced the Blues centre off for a HIA and put the home side on the attack but an error by Emma Tonegato snuffed out the opportunity.

Six minutes into the second half Davis had another shot out of dummy half for the Sky Blues but Queensland’s defence held firm and a penalty for slowing down the ruck allowed them out of their own end.

A mistake at dummy half by Emma Manzelmann followed by a penalty against Ali Brigginshaw for a high shot carried NSW down field in the 46th minute but again Queensland held firm on their own line to keep themselves in the contest.


Johnston goes whack!

A clever grubber by Brigginshaw earned Queensland a repeat set on the 50-minute mark but a superb cover tackle by Kezie Apps forced the ball out of Tamika Upton’s grip and NSW survived.

With 15 minutes to play it was Maroons skipper Brigginshaw who produced a brilliant pass to put centre Shenae Ciesiolka over for the try that breathed new hope into Queensland’s challenge. Brown pushed the conversion wide to leave the score at 6-4 in a dour struggle.

Despite battling a leg injury it was Sergis who came up with a huge one-on-one steal on Julia Robinson to put NSW on the attack and Corban Baxter sent a pass over to Tiana Penitani to make it 10-4. Pearson slipped over on the greasy surface attempting the conversion and the margin stayed at six.

Romy Teitzel then came up with a big play to get the Maroons the ball back with a driving low kick-off that the Blues couldn’t get their hands on and Tarryn Aiken capitalised with a dazzling solo try in the 62nd minute as the defending champions refused to lie down. Brown’s conversion locked it up at 10-10.


Tiana Penitani Try

A dropped ball by Sky Blues prop Caitlan Johnston with three minutes to play ensured a grandstand finish and it was Brown who slotted a composed field goal into the breeze to put the Maroons ahead 11-10.

From there the defending champions hung on to the lead and will return home to Queensland for a decider on June 27 with a chance to clinch back-to-back series wins.

Match Snapshot

  • Maroons prop Shannon Mato was placed on report in the 11th minute for a hair pull on Yasmin Clydsdale.
  • Maroons skipper Ali Brigginshaw was put on report in the 14th minute for a trip.
  • Sky Blues centre Jess Sergis left the field in the 33rd minute for a HIA which she passed.
  • Sky Blues centre Isabelle Kelly ran for 118 metres in the opening half and by full-time had racked up 173 metres.
  • Yasmin Clydsdale and Olivia Kernick racked up 73 tackles between them for NSW.
  • When Queensland and NSW met in Townsville last year it was the Sky Blues getting home 18-14.

Tarryn Aiken Try

  • Kezie Apps and Isabelle Kelly have played all nine Origin games for the Sky Blues.
  • Ali Brigginshaw and Tazmin Rapana have played all nine Origin games for the Maroons.
  • Maroons five-eighth Tarryn Aiken has scored four tries in seven Origin games.
  • Maroons prop Shannon Mato ran for 142 metres in a powerful display to take home the player of the match award.
  • Maroons debutante Siena Lofipo ran for 86 metres and had five tackles in 37 minutes of game time.

Sergis with a huge play

Play of the Game 

Lauren Brown’s ice cool field goal to keep the series alive for Queensland was a piece of pure class that provided a fitting end to an epic contest. Positioning herself perfectly behind the ruck, Brown had to bend down low to gather the pass from dummy half Tamika Upton and then slot the shot from 25 metres out to put her team in front for the first time all night.


Brown puts the Maroons ahead

What they Said 

“We spoke after the first game that we needed to be better for the full 70 minutes and that showed that tonight. That was insane. That’s true Origin footy. It’s so good for our game to play a game of football like that. For these girls to know what it takes to be a Queenslander and win games like that, I’m so proud of them. Lauren Brown was amazing tonight. Not only in her kicking game but the way she played in her hooking role, she was next level.” – Maroons coach Tahnee Norris


Maroons: Game 2

“Really tough conditions out there, really tough game, obviously there’s a lot of disappointment in the sheds at the moment. They are all pretty upset. I think the game was there for us to take at several different stages but it didn’t happen, that’s footy. In hindsight it’s great for the first three-game series to go to a decider in Townsville. All credit to Queensland, they just kept fighting. We’ll go back and look at what we need to look at and rebuild for Townsville.” – Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder


Sky Blues: Game 2

What’s Next

The Maroons and Sky Blues head to Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium on June 27 for a decider after the defending champions produced a classic comeback to keep the series alive.

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