The VB NSW Blues have opened the 2014 Origin series with a 12-8 win over the Queensland Maroons at Suncorp Stadium, including a monster try to Eels and Blues fullback Jarryd Hayne.
The Maroons struck early in front of a vocal Queensland crowd, as winger Darius Boyd snuck through on the left edge to open up a 4-point lead.
But with Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne playing a key role in attack, the Blues managed to capitalise on a reshuffle to the Maroons line-up and dominate the rest of the opening half.
Queensland halfback Cooper Cronk left the field in just the tenth minute with a suspected broken arm from an awkward tackle, leaving Daly Cherry-Evans to step into the playmaking role.
Hayne provided the crucial offload to send Brett Morris away and over for the Blues’ first try, shaking off a shoulder complaint to return to the field. And with an opportunity close to the line Hayne manoeuvred through three Queensland defenders to roll out of a tackle and place the ball over the tryline.
With the help of a Hodkinson penalty goal, the Blues headed to the sheds at halftime with a less-than-comfortable 10-4 lead.
Momentum swung sharply after the break, as the Maroons took advantage of a slowing Blues side and narrowed the gap with a Greg Inglis play to Darius Boyd for his second of the night.
Field position see-sawed with both sides having chances close to the line: Boyd was held up in a Brett Morris tackle as he attempted to make it a hat trick in the left corner, and Hayne grounding a Thurston grubber to defuse a potential Queensland try in the final minutes.
And with Queensland gifted a penalty and final play after the full-time siren, the Blues held on to open the series with a 12-8 win.
NSW VB Blues - 12 (B. Morris, Hayne. Hodkinson: 2/2 penalty goals)
XXXX Queensland Maroons - 8 (Boyd 2).