Home Hand Games Queensland Maroons win, highlights, Valentine Holmes defence, Cameron Munster strip, NSW Blues

Queensland Maroons win, highlights, Valentine Holmes defence, Cameron Munster strip, NSW Blues

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While State of Origin games may be remembered for the headline moments, Billy Slater said that is not always where the final result it is determined.

“I think it gets won through the little moments,” Slater told Today ahead of his Queensland coaching debut.

“We all see the big moment in State of Origin, the Darren Lockyer try (in 2006), the Mark Coyne try in 1994, and they’re great highlights. But it’s the little moments that count in State of Origin.”

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SUPERHUMAN efforts see Maroons hold on | 00:59

On Wednesday night, there were three moments in particular that proved the difference.

“That (Munster’s strip) was a big moment. This bloke (Cherry-Evans) jumped on a ball late in the game when there was a half chance that they were going to score a try. Val Holmes, we all saw him come from the right hand side of the field and he was just accelerating and dived on that loose ball,” Slater said post-game.

“They’re little moments but they’re big moments. And there’s a lot of them in the game, there might be 100, 200 in the game but they’re all important. You don’t do one and the game gets away from you.”

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Valentine Holmes also came up big in defence. Picture: NRL Photos/Gregg PorteousSource: Supplied

HOLMES’ ‘HUGE’ SAVE ‘EPITOMISES’ QLD SPIRIT

Valentine Holmes was one of Queensland’s best on Wednesday night, with one defensive effort in particularly drawing plenty of praise late in the second half.

It came after Damien Cook burst out of dummy-half, drawing Jeremiah Nanai in before putting fullback James Tedesco through a hole.

Looking inside for support, Tedesco spotted halfback Nathan Cleary backing up and kicked ahead.

He had Queensland fullback Kalyn Ponga beaten but centre Valentine Holmes came racing in from the left side of the field, diving onto the ball.

Billy’s boys produce the upset in Game 1 | 04:11

“What a play,” Fox League’s Braith Anasta said in commentary.

“From the other side of the field, that could be the play of the game. That was enormous. That epitomises Queensland tonight, that play right there.”

Former Queensland skipper Cameron Smith called it a “huge effort” from Holmes, declaring it was a “try every day of the week” if the Cowboys speedster had not been in cover.

“I’m pretty sure there were three [Blues] chasers,” Smith said on SEN Radio.

“If Val doesn’t make that decision to come in from the wing, that’s a try every week. All he had to do was bobble and fumble and they score.

“Plays like that were huge. That’s what makes Origin so great. These players will do everything they can to help their team to victory.”

‘THIEF IN THE NIGHT’: MUNSTER MAGIC FOOLS BLUES

Those moments only became more important after Cameron Murray scored to reduce the deficit to just six points heading into the final eight minutes of the game.

When Jack Wighton made a break down the left sideline, Queensland was left scrambling for cover.

Magical Cobbo conjures QLD’s first try | 00:54

He initially beat Dane Gagai and then fended away Selwyn Cobbo before eventually being tracked down by the Rabbitohs centre.

Still, New South Wales had all the momentum and sent it to the middle of the field before turning it back inside for Stephen Crichton.

With the Maroons scrambling to reset their defensive line, few people would have even been thinking about the threat of a steal — but Cameron Munster is one of a kind.

“You talk about moments in Origin and that is another one of them,” Anasta said.

“He’s been a thief in the night so many times throughout the season and he’s done it again.”

“There’s 90,000 people in the stadium, only one person would be thinking that,” Blues great Andrew Johns added on Channel Nine’s coverage.

“When you’re 10 metres out from your line under pressure, who would even think about doing that? That’s a superstar. What a player.”

Even Cameron Smith, who would know Munster’s game better than most, was surprised.

“These big plays here, he’s 12 metres out from the Queensland tryline, who’s thinking of doing that?” he said.

“I know Stephen Crichton wasn’t, he wasn’t expecting Cameron Munster to strip the ball. When he has the ball in his hand he just mesmerises defenders.”

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Wighton MUSCLES over for opener | 00:36

THE SKIPPER COMES UP CLUTCH

Heading into the final five minutes, the Blues were still desperately searching for a way through and almost found it when Damien Cook threw structure out the window.

Nathan Cleary put the ball into the air for Crichton, who batted the ball back for Liam Martin.

His Panthers teammate then hurled the ball to Isaah Yeo, which was then tossed to Damien Cook. Spinning around, Cook then created “something out of nothing,” according to Fox League’s Warren Smith.

He initially beat Cherry-Evans and then Reuben Cotter before chipping a small kick. But the Queensland halfback had rushed back into the line and redeemed himself, diving on the ball.