Queensland seals State of Origin win over New South Wales

Associated Press

7/4/2012 9:20:17 AM

BRISBANE, Australia -- Queensland scored three tries in the last 20 minutes of the first half to overcome an early 8-0 deficit and beat New South Wales 21-20 for its seventh consecutive series win in State of Origin rugby league on Wednesday.

The Blues levelled the third and deciding match 20-20 with six minutes left on Todd Carney's conversion from an extremely wide angle. But Cooper Cronk's 40-meter drop goal provided the winning margin a minute later before 52,000 spectators at Lang Park.

Queensland defeated the Blues 18-10 in the series opener on May 23 in Melbourne before New South Wales won the second match 16-12 on June 13 in Sydney.

Late first-half tries by Johnathan Thurston and Justin Hodges gave Queensland a 16-8 lead after an explosive first half.

The opening 40 minutes was littered with flare-ups, the first just two minutes into the clash -- New South Wales captain Paul Gallen was penalized for punching Queensland winger Brent Tate after every player on the field rushed into a brawl.

Winger Brett Morris put New South Wales ahead 8-0 with a converted try in the 13th minute after Carney kicked a penalty goal five minutes earlier.

Queensland came back to score in the left corner through winger Darius Boyd, who scored his third try of the series and helped Queensland hit the lead in the 32nd minute after Thurston handled three times and converted his own try to lead 10-8.

Hodges scored three minutes later and Thurston's conversion made it 16-8 at halftime.

"We thought our ball control was pretty good," said Queensland captain Cameron Smith. "They got the first points, but we got there in the end."