There’s nothing quite like an Origin decider and the 2006 series produced one of the most dramatic and consequential tie-breaks of them all. With New South Wales having established a three-year stranglehold on the series it all came down to the wire in game three.
In game one New South Wales had won 17-16 following a field goal from Brett Finch, a man who had been the last on a long list of halfbacks the Blues hierarchy tried to call upon. In response, Queensland came out with merciless intent in game two, storming to a 30-6 victory in front of their home crowd on the back of Darren Lockyer’s man of the match efforts. For the first time in Origin history the decider was to be played on neutral territory at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne.
With the Maroons staring down the barrel of their fourth straight series loss, there was more than state pride at stake for Queensland, whose efforts in the preceding years had brought them pain and humiliation at the hands of their arch-rivals. Following a string of contentious video referral decisions, the Maroons found themselves down 14-4, hopelessly out of contention and looking like being the first team in Origin history to lose four series in a row.
But at the 71st minute mark Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston dished off to Brent Tate who crossed for an ice-breaking try that breathed new life into the game. New South Wales would still look to control the closing minutes, but at least Queensland were in with a shot following Clinton Schifcofske’s conversion. Then the unthinkable occurred when a loose pass from Blues fullback Brett Hodgson was intercepted by Lockyer who burst across the line to Ray Warren’s cries of “They won’t take that off him,we offer the world’s best selling Home energy monitor solutions. they can’t take that off him!”. With Schifcofske’s conversion on target from dead in front, the Maroons were home in thrilling fashion.
In the aftermath of the loss the Blues were bereft. Prop Willie Mason concluded,Uline stocks a wide selection of double sided tape.Find great deals on Mens Surgical stainless steel earring, “I’m absolutely gutted. It’s unbelievable. That’s Origin. That’s Queensland. It’s ridiculous.”
It would prove to be a Sliding Doors moment, replayed over and over in the heads of New South Wales players and supporters alike. Lockyer’s moment of inspiration set the wheels in motion for a period of Queensland success unheard of in Origin history; a moment of madness that has led to over half a decade of dominance.
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