Queensland's 12-man late victory typifies Origin

State of Origin history suggested several things; New South Wales loves a neutral venue, the winner of Game 1 is in the box seat to win the series and Queensland will always start with the weight of punters' money against them. And so Adelaide Oval's pristine turf welcomed State of Origin for a second time, with around 5,000 empty seats in the stands, but an atmosphere befitting rugby league's showpiece.

The navy Blues received the opening kick-off and the forwards went to work. After three uneventful completed sets, a Nathan Cleary high kick went to Reece Walsh who flew to take the ball, coming down on Tyson Frizell's shoulder before both Josh Addo-Carr and Payne Haas landed on him. There followed the first push and shove gathering of angry men, which referee Ashley Klein sorted out sensibly.

The Blues were winning the early territorial battle and enjoyed the first real attacking raid, deep in Queensland territory. The Maroons were able to withstand that early onslaught and were helped down the other end of the field with a timely penalty. Cameron Munster was able to produce some magic at the end of the set of six, dribbling a kick through the defence from 10 metres out for debutante Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to race through, taking the bouncing ball on his chest for the opening try. The 10th minute had not been breached and the Maroons enjoyed a 6-0 lead.

Hudson Young had been involved in a push and shove with the Queenslanders early, and had another poor moment when stealing the ball in a three-man tackle, as Queensland returned the kick-off following their opening try. The mistake was compounded when simple chain passing saw Selwyn Cobbo run past Brian To'o, who had slipped to his knees, to score in the corner. Queensland were 10-0 up and showing up some poor New South Wales discipline and some equally poor defence.

A perfectly placed Cleary bomb saw Walsh trapped in the in-goal area. We saw our first drop out of the game and as Josh Addo-Carr rose from the first tackle, we saw our first 'six again' call from the referee. The opportunity was wasted by the Blues as the Panthers combination on the left misfired and Stephen Crichton batted the ball forward to To'o.

The Blues attack looked disjointed and clearly relying on Cleary's kicks for a breakthrough, but Walsh was doing a great job under the high ball. Queensland were then penalised for having 14 players on the field, as Tom Gilbert was replaced well before he crossed the chalk on the opposite side of the field. In the ensuing attacking raid, James Tedesco looked certain to score, but in true Maroons fashion he was held up over the line by Murray Taulagi.

Taulagi on debut saved another try shortly after, this time holding the arm of Frizell up over the line. Then in the next set of six tackles he stripped the ball from Frizell and we heard a "Queenslander!" chant go up in Adelaide.

Tom Gilbert's night was over, his shoulder dislocation confirmed. His opposite Young wasn't putting his hand up for any awards, knocking the ball on at the line as the Blues tried to mount their fightback.

Blues bench prop Junior Paulo made an instant impact, bending the Queensland line in the shadows of half-time. David Fifita was sent for a HIA after heavily kissing Tedesco's shoulder. And as play resumed, the Panthers combined on the left edge, with a Cleary no-look pass to Jarome Luai, who timed a perfect ball to a hard-running Liam Martin, who crossed untouched. Finally, the Blues were in with seven minutes remaining in the half, bringing the score back to a manageable 10-6 down.

The Blues were still playing like 13 blokes who had only just met on the plane to Adelaide, with passes finding the grass several times. The weight of possession in favour of the Blues started to take its toll on the Maroons, but still they held on, even as Tom Trbojevic bobbed up on the left to take part in a classic, inside centre to outside centre, passing movement. Martin was determined to prove he deserved his jersey despite missing a large part of the season, he was hitting with authority and running the right lines out wide. The players left for the break, with New South Wales enjoying way too much possession to be trailing on the scoreboard.

Just four minutes after the break, Valentine Holmes tried to slip a pass inside his own 20 metre zone, it came off the arm of tackler Apisai Koroisau, who managed to pick it up after it dribbled off his leg and no Maroons player was able to grab it. He ran around under the posts to give the Blues a 12-10 lead after the conversion. It was the first really controversial call of the night, with the hint of a knock-on from Koroisau. Still it was a ridiculous attempt to pass from Holmes.

The Queenslanders were put back on the attack with a Daly Cherry-Evans 40-20, but a loose carry from Lindsay Collins soon saw the ball returned to New South Wales. The Blues were starting look better with the ball, while the Maroons made a third error before 10 minutes of the second half had passed.

With 30 minutes left in the game we had another group cuddle session after Luai upset the Maroons with some extra work in a tackle. The referee again turned a blind eye to all that went on and the game continued with a full compliment of players. The amount of restraint shown by all concerned was admirable, as you could see a number of fists locked and loaded, with none fired.

With the Blues on the attack again, we heard our first "New South Wales" chant of the night, as another Cleary high kick was easily gathered in by Holmes. With the Blues leading by two, the game had a familiarly ominous feeling for New South Wales fans. The Maroons only needed a fair share of the ball, to cut out their errors and a snatched victory seemed almost destined.

And maligned selection Tevita Pangai Junior gave them their first opportunity, with an offload equally as ridiculous as Holmes' earlier effort. In the following set of tackles, deep in Blues territory, the ball was spread to Walsh, who put Cobbo away for his second try of the night. Holmes converted from the sideline to put the Maroons back in front 16-12.

After an uncharacteristic error from Cherry-Evans the Blues were back in the hunt. A couple of penalties later and finally the reliance on Cleary's high kicks paid dividends. Martin was able to bat the ball back to Luai, who dummied before sending Crichton over. Cleary converted to put the Blues back in front 18-16.

With 12 minutes remaining, a high shot on Trbojevic saw him knocked out of the game, Nicho Hynes make his debut and Tom Flegler sent to the sin bin. It is common Origin knowledge that Queensland are never beaten while there is still time left on the clock, but their next foray into Blues territory was well contained by the Blues defence.

With seven minutes remaining, the 12-man Maroons spread the ball 10 metres inside their own half, with Harry Grant working some magic to send Tabuai-Fidow away down the left-hand side of the field. He fended his way clear of Addo-Carr, before swerving past Tedesco, who lost his feet and ended up on his back. Tabuai-Fidow put the ball down under the posts and the conversion put Queensland back in front 22-18.

To wrap it up, on their next possession, a Cherry-Evans bomb was taken on the full by Collins who jumped above Tedesco, spun and passed it to Munster who scored.

They had done it again, broken the hearts of millions of New South Welshmen, sending the brains trust scrambling for answers, and setting Queensland up for another series victory.

In three weeks time we will have Game 2 at Suncorp Stadium, the hardest place in the world to beat Queensland.