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Queensland Rallies For 18-14 Upset In Origin Opener

Queensland Rallies For 18-14 Upset In Origin Opener

A halftime pep talk from master coach Wayne Bennet inspired a bunch of Queensland rookies to a comeback 1814 upset win over New South Wales on Wednesday in the State of Origin series opener.

ADELAIDE, Australia: A halftime pep talk from master coach Wayne Bennet inspired a bunch of Queensland rookies to a comeback 18-14 upset win over New South Wales on Wednesday in the State of Origin series opener.

New South Wales led 10-0 at halftime, via tries from hooker Damien Cook and winger Josh Addo-Carr, despite conceding a glut of possession to the Queenslanders in the first 15 minutes and knocking-on from the opening kickoff at the Adelaide Oval.

Queensland had eight players on Origin debut and was outclassed late in the first half.

But the Maroons scored three tries in 14 minutes to tilt the balance back into their favor with Kurt Capewell, a late replacement in the centers, creating their first try when he broke through the defensive line in the 50th minute and kicked ahead for fullback AJ Brimson to score near the posts.

Queensland took the lead when center Dane Gagai shrugged off the defense and turned fullback James Tedsesco inside-out to create room for Xavier Coates to score in the corner four minutes later.

Cameron Munster gave the Queenslanders an eight-point lead when he gathered an errant offload from Blues winger Daniel Tupou and scooted across to score in the right corner. Daly Cherry-Evans converted to make it 18-10.

Addo-Carr crossed late for his second try to set up a tense finish but the Queensland defense held on to take an unexpected lead in the three-game series.

New South Wales will host the second game in Sydney next Wednesday, with Queensland at home in the third game in Brisbane.

The Origin series is in its 40th year, but being played at the end of the season for the first time. The three-game series is usually played during the NRL season in June and July but was postponed this year because of delays caused by the shutdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bennett returned as Maroons coach last month as a late replacement for Kevin Walters, who was appointed as Brisbane Broncos head coach after his old team placed last in the NRL season.

The 70-year-old Bennett won five of his first seven Origin series as Queensland coach, won six premierships with the Broncos and also been an international coach for Australia, New Zealand and Britain.

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