Brown sinks Blues in the wet with late field goal as trademark Maroons comeback forces Origin series decider


Queensland’s women showed the Maroons spirit is not confined to the men’s arena by stealing victory from NSW in the wet at Newcastle with a late field goal after looking down and out for most of the match.

The Maroons trailed 10-4 in the slippery conditions after Tiani Penitani scored in the 58th minute but after a clever solo try to five-eighth Tarryn Aiken, they pulled off an astounding comeback win when hooker Lauren Brown nailed a field goal under pressure with just two minutes remaining.

NSW were just moments from wrapping up the first three-match series at McDonald Jones Stadium following on from last month’s 22-12 victory in Brisbane.

The series now comes down to a decider when the teams head to North Queensland for the finale at QCB Stadium on June 27.

“I’m glad it went over. The fact that we stuck in it all the way to the end is what I’m really proud of,” Brown said.

NSW were fuming last year when they levelled the two-game series in the second match but Queensland retained the shield on for-and-against record because a third match had not been scheduled.

But they have no one to blame but themselves after a couple of crucial handling errors down the stretch opened the door ever so slightly for Queensland to snatch the result.

Even though the rain tumbled to the turf in Newcastle on Thursday night, the Steeden rarely did as both teams put on a superb display in the wet weather.

NSW got the upper hand early and Queensland were unable to make inroads. 

Shannon Mato even resorted to the dreaded hair-pull on Blues second-rower Yasmin Clydsdale to bring her down in the 11th minute.

Shenae Ciesiolka scores. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

NSW failed to capitalise on the possession and field position despite camping themselves down the Maroons’ end of the soaked ground with puddles splashing up regularly as players were tackled.

On the back of a powerful Jessica Sergis charge upfield in the 24th minute, they were finally able to convert their dominance into points when Keeley Davis jumped out of dummy-half for a 6-0 advantage. 

Sergis was again threatening to break Queensland open just before half-time but was brought down by a high shot from Keilee Joseph and even though she appeared to suffer more of a leg injury than a head knock, referee Belinda Sharpe ordered her from the field on the advice of the independent doctor in the Bunker.

“She hurt her leg, she never got hit in the head,” bemoaned former NSW coach Phil Gould on Nine commentary.

Queensland went into the game hoping that shifting Ali Brigginshaw back to her preferred position of halfback would give them more impetus with the ball in hand but the veteran playmaker was well contained by the NSW defenders in the first half before coming into her own in the second period.

They made a late change with Emmanita Paki promoted to start on the wing with Evania Pelite reverting to centre and Lauren Brown shifting to hooker, relegating Destiny Brill to the bench.

Keeley Davis celebrates after scoring in Newcastle. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Brigginshaw showed her playmaking class midway through the second half to get Queensland on the board with her pin-point cut-out pass presenting Shenae Ceisiolka the chance to slide over out wide.

NSW stretched back out to a 10-4 lead when Sergis stole the ball from Julia Robinson and they swiftly sent the ball to the flank with Corban Baxter’s long pass finding Tiana Penitani in perfect position.

The four-pointer would have been impressive in any conditions but with the rain teeming down, it was extra special.

Queensland regained the ball from a short kick-off and Aiken stepped up to rush past a couple of tiring forwards in defence before Brown downed the Blues with her dagger one-pointer.

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