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Gagai brilliance steals victory for Maroons over NSW in first State of Origin game

Laine Clark, June 6, 2019 6:45AM AAP

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Dane Gagai (left) of the Maroons is tackled by Josh Addo-Carr (right) of the Blues during Game 1. Picture: AAP media_cameraDane Gagai (left) of the Maroons is tackled by Josh Addo-Carr (right) of the Blues during Game 1. Picture: AAP


Reading level: green

Queensland has snatched a come-from-behind 18-14 win over NSW in the State of Origin series opener at Suncorp Stadium.

A try-scoring double by man of the match Dane Gagai helped the Maroons overcome the 8-0 halftime score and a lot of missed chances to score the first victory in front of 52,191 fans.

It was a dream start for Queensland’s new Origin era* as they look to reclaim* the title.

State of Origin - QLD v NSW: Game 1 media_cameraDane Gagai of Queensland scores a try last night. Picture: Getty Images

And it was a pretty good look for new Queensland mind coach Bradley Charles Stubbs. Ahead of his fourth campaign, Maroons coach Kevin Walters hired Stubbs to give his side a winning edge.

It marked the first time since game two, 2003 that Queensland had played an Origin without one of their greats Inglis, Slater, Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston or Cooper Cronk.

But Walters raised eyebrows when he adopted the coach whisperer’s “Expect to Win” sessions, ditching* their traditional underdog tag and claiming they “will win” Origin I.

In the end Walters got the last laugh — after some anxious moments.

“We will take the win but there is a lot more left in this Queensland team and the ‘other team’,” he said referring to NSW but not mentioning the team by name.

State of Origin - QLD v NSW: Game 1 media_cameraJosh Morris of the Blues grounds the ball to score in game one. Picture: Getty Images

The game was turned on its head in the 58th minute when Matt Gillett was denied a penalty try and NSW centre Latrell Mitchell was sin binned for tackling the back-rower without the ball.

Queensland kicked the resulting penalty to level the scores at 8-8.

Enter Gagai.

The winger first scored a 95m intercept try off an off-track Jack Wighton pass in the 67th minute with 60 seconds left on the sin bin clock for Mitchell.

“That try he scored, very few would have been able to score that one,” Walters said.

Deadly Maroons down Blues

Then Gagai ran off impressive fullback Kalyn Ponga to score the matchwinner in the 71st.

Gagai ran a remarkable 256m, while taking his Origin try tally to 11 in as many games.

The winner of game one has gone on to win 27 of the past 37 series including eight of the past 10.

Game two is in Perth on June 23.


  • era: period of time
  • reclaim: get it back
  • ditching: give it up


Cooper Cronk to retire from NRL at end of season

Belinda makes history as first female NRL ref

Blues, Maroons ready for Origin 1 face off


  1. Who was man of the match?
  2. Who is the Maroons coach?
  3. What does Bradley Charles Stubbs do?
  4. Which team does Josh Morris play for?
  5. At what point was Matt Gillett denied a penalty try?


1. Think about how captains of both Queensland and NSW would have felt straight after this match. Write two short speeches, one by the winning captain and one by the losing captain, that would be appropriate to give at the ground and to be watched by thousands of people on TV. Remember who you should thank, who you should congratulate and how, as your team’s captain, you can inspire your teammates to do their best for their next match. The speeches should be short and clear, so you may need to edit them a couple of times to make them brief and to the point. If there is time, you could record your speeches or perform them in front of the class.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes for this activity
Curriculum links: English, Personal and social capability

2. Extension
Now choose one of the two captains and write the speech you would give to your team once you are in the changing rooms. Find ways to congratulate their efforts, make suggestions for future games, build their confidence and inspire them for the next game. 

Time: allow at least 20 minutes for this activity
Curriculum links: English, Personal and social capability

With a partner see if you can identify all the doing words/verbs in this text. Highlight them in yellow and then make a list of them all down your page. Now see if you and your partner can come up with a synonym for the chosen verb. Make sure it still makes sense in the context it was taken from.

Try to replace some of the original verbs with your synonyms and discuss if any are better and why.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Are you happy Queensland won? Do you think this is the start of a winning streak for Queensland?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. Comments will not be published until approved by editors.

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