State of Origin: New South Wales claim 2018 series with 18-14 win in Game II

Brad Fittler's young and exuberant New South Wales side has claimed the state's first State of Origin series win since 2014.

A thrilling 18-14 Game Two win was enough for the Blues to end three years of misery and secure just their second series in 13 years.

Declared by Channel Nine commentator Phil Gould as one of the greatest Origin matches in history, it produced six tries - one of them a penalty try - a NSW sin-bin with 10 minutes left and the arrival of Queensland’s next great player.

A shattered Greg Inglis did all he could for the Maroons.
A shattered Greg Inglis did all he could for the Maroons. Photo credit: Getty
Kalyn Ponga went close late for the Maroons.
Kalyn Ponga went close late for the Maroons. Photo credit: Getty

Newcastle Knights playmaker Kalyn Ponga played the last 55 minutes and almost single-handedly won the Maroons the match with 11 minutes remaining, ghosting through a wall of Blue, but was brought down inches from the tryline by fullback James Tedesco.

It looked like the Maroons would coast to victory, after a sensational opening quarter in which they scored twice and had a try disallowed.

Queensland raced to a 10-0 lead through tries to wingers Valentine Holmes and Dane Gagai, who had a try ruled out in the fourth minute, after Josh Addo-Carr pulled off a wonderful last-ditch tackle to deny the South Sydney star.

NSW hit back against the run of play through Addo-Carr’s 25th minute try and found themselves in front minutes later.

They were sensationally awarded a penalty try - the first since 1981 - after Ben Hunt was adjudged to have impeded Boyd Cordner, as the Blues skipper chased down a James Maloney grubber kick.

The Blues extended their lead shortly after halftime, when the outstanding Latrell Mitchell crashed through a Will Chambers tackle, which James Maloney converted from the sideline, to give NSW an eight-point lead with a half hour to play.

But Will Chambers finished a nice backline move for Queensland in the 62nd minute to cut the margin to four and set up a grandstand finish.

The Blues survived 10 of the final 11 minutes with just 12-men, after centre James Roberts was sin-binned for a professional foul on Gavin Cooper, preventing the Maroons forward from contesting a Ben Hunt grubber kick.

Queensland threw plenty at NSW in the closing stages, but were let down by poor decision-making as the Baby Blues signalled a new era of Origin.

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