A Ngāti Pikiao lad has led the Queensland side to victory in the first State of Origin clash, in Sydney last night. The visiting Queensland side grinded out a win, a win which has led to calls from New South Wales for new referees?
Who would have ever thought a Māori would be the standout player in the biggest Australian match of the year?
Queenslander winger Dane Gagai says, “It's just a massive rush of adrenaline, it's hard to explain but you know you're scoring that try for everyone north of the border.”
The New South Wales Origin side was left aggrieved after their loss at ANZ Stadium, Sydney. Although they were the first to score, the home ground advantage wasn't enough to secure the win.
New South Wales captain Paul Gallen says, “We're going to get better as the series goes on. We had opportunities but, you know, Queensland are a good side and they managed to hold us out.”
That's exactly what happened in the 65th minute. After closer scrutiny from the referees and the bunker, this try was not awarded.
New South Wales head coach Laurie Daly told the media, “Put it this way, I'll be asking for those two referees not to be officiating in Game Two, there's your story.”
Whether it was poor sportsmanship from New South Wales remains to be seen, but the Queenslanders seemed to agree that a few of the calls did swing their way.
“Being honest we did get some honest calls. Some favourable calls, and you need that to win at this level,” says Queensland head coach Kevin Walters.
The NSW backline looked to attack the fringes in the second half, which saw Gagai instrumental on defence.