As it happened: Maroons send Billy Slater out on a high with narrow win over Blues in State of Origin thriller

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of State of Origin III between the New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

FT: QLD 18-12 NSW

Queensland wins it and sends out Slater as a winner. NSW already had the series in the bag but this win means a lot for next year. Despite a valiant performance by NSW, they just ran out of steam in that second half and QLD finally found a breakthrough. That does it for tonight's coverage. Po marie!

79min: QLD 18-12 NSW

NSW get one last chance after Addo-Carr makes a break down the right wing but the kick on the last is chased by no one and QLD recover 1m from their line.

77min: QLD 18-12 NSW

Maloney floats a massive pass to the left wing but Gagai makes a diving intercept to stop a certain try. Wild finish coming up.

76min: QLD 18-12 NSW

NSW playing schoolyard ball with desperate passes left and right on the last tackle. Tedesco shakes one off but the ball is stripped! NSW recover, SIX MORE!

74min: QLD 18-12 NSW

QLD DROPOUT! Maloney's grubber finds the in-goal but a sweeping Gagai comes in to get it. He tries to escape but he's surrounded by Blues. This game isn't done yet.

72min: QLD 18-12 NSW

QLD give away a penalty after their kick pins NSW inside their 10m. Maloney's kick finds touch and NSW will start their new set just inside their half.

70min: QLD 18-12 NSW

Munster grubbers to the in-goal but Maloney sweeps in and saves it while scrambling out of his in-goal. NSW holding on here. 

67min: QLD 18-12 NSW

NSW looking really tired - is all that defence in the first half finally catching up with them? Plenty of hands on heads and big puffs coming out of them at the moment and QLD are pinning them in their half. It gets even worse for NSW after Maloney is pressure into a shocking kick that floats into touch on his own 20m! QLD scrum, 20m off the NSW line coming up.

64min: QLD 18-12 NSW

QLD get out of jail free after a brain fart by Klemmer. He's penalised for tripping up a QLD defender when NSW looked destined to score. Massive momentum shift there.

63min: QLD 18-12 NSW

NSW pin QLD inside their 20m with a smart kick on the final tackle and it gets better after QLD drops it cold on their 30m two tackles later!

60min: QLD 18-12 NSW

QLD make 70m after kickoff and try to run on the last but they run out of space. NSW gets the turnover ball on their 20m.

59min: QLD 18-12 NSW

QLD TRY! DCE scores in his return but he'll be thanking his halves partner for it. Munster carves through the NSW line on halfway with a big left step and gets into the backfield. He links up with as he's ankle tapped and Cooper draws and passes to Cherry-Evans to run it 20m to score under the posts.

56min: QLD 12-12 NSW

NSW makes massive metres with three straight runs from dummy half to put QLD on the back foot. They look to run again on the last tackle with numbers to the right but the last pass from Crichton can't stick and it rolls into touch. QLD scrum on their 30m.

54min: QLD 12-12 NSW

NSW show promise again after making 56m on their set to reach the QLD 20m on their last tackle. They opt to run it and Trbojevic hits the line and goes for the offload but its forward. QLD scrum on their 10m.

52min: QLD 12-12 NSW

QLD TRY! Holmes gets his second with a great finish in the right corner. DCE puts Slater in space 10m out with a bullet pass and Slater sees numbers to his right. He draws and passes to Chambers who does the same for Holmes. The winger dives in the corner to finish it. All tied up here. How costly will Sims' brain explosion prove to be?

50min: QLD 8-12 NSW

Sims has a brain explosion and gives away a penalty. He's tadckled by Hunt and Hunt holds him down for a while. As the two get up, Sims plays the ball and immediately launches at Hunt and tackles him to the ground! Obviosuly you can't do that so it's a penalty. QLD kick for touch and get a set on NSW's 20m.

49min: QLD 8-12 NSW

NSW hold on again. QLD try to score on the right wing but Holmes is dragged into touch. NSW scrum on their 10m.

47min: QLD 8-12 NSW

Pressure building again as Cleary is penalised for being offside. QLD use it for a tap 10m out. Can they break this defence? Remember, the only time they've scored tonight was off an intercept.

46min: QLD 8-12 NSW

A well-placed kick by Hunt pins NSW down on QLD's last tackle. NSW try to run it out in their set but overconfidence gets the better of them and a wild pass goes into touch. QLD scrum on the NSW 40m to come.

43min: QLD 8-12 NSW

Maguire makes a clutch scoop on Maloney's grubber and gives QLD the ball back. They can only make 27m on their set and Munster hoofs it to the NSW 30m. Trbojevic only gets a few metres in reply after a good chase.

41min: QLD 8-12 NSW

QLD DROPOUT! What a start by the Blues. 77m on the set and Maloney's grubber on the last gives Slater nothing to work with.

40min: QLD 8-12 NSW

QLD get things back underway at Suncorp and Maloney is back on the field.

HT: QLD 8-12 NSW

NSW TRY! What an end to this half. NSW gets a set 40m out after QLD are penalised. They get down to the QLD 10m and Cook takes it quickly out of the half and attacks a flat QLD line. He pops one off to Tedesco and he's in under the posts untouched. What an end to this half. Hats off to NSW. They have absorbed 15 odd minutes of attack from a frustrated QLD outfit's attack and struck back with a man down in emphatic fashion. If you want an example in defensive mastery, NSW has produced it here. We'll be back soon with the second half.

39min: QLD 8-6 NSW

NSW TRY! Just like Holmes did earlier in the half, Trbojevic intercepts one on his own 10m and takes it all the way back to score. Poor pass from Munster. Looked to skip one to the left wing and Trbojevic read it from a mile away. Massive play to end this half after 15 odd minutes of relentless pressure.

36min: QLD 8-0 NSW

Things go from bad to worse for NSW as they give away their fifth penalty of the game. QLD find touch and start their new set 40m out from the NSW line.

34min: QLD 8-0 NSW

Fun fact as NSW start with the ball on their 10m - NSW have made 101 more tackles than QLD so far this game. Unbelievable.

33min: QLD 8-0 NSW

QLD force NSW to start on their 10m and the defence puts a couple of big hits in, keeping them to just 25m on the set before Cleary tries to get one away but Slater returns it 20m back to halfway. QLD playing their finest footy of the series so far this half.

31min: QLD 8-0 NSW

QLD TWO! QLD play it safe and take the two on offer from Maloney's penalty. Holmes slots it.

30min: QLD 6-0 NSW

NSW SIN BIN! Maloney heads to the bin after he makes a professional foul on Slater! DCE grubbers one through and Slater gives chase and Maloney changes his running path to stop Slater from getting to the ball. He does it not once, but twice. Massive moment in this game. 

28min: QLD 6-0 NSW

NSW DROPOUT! And again, they'll defend. DCE's grubber is another beauty and Tedesco swats it dead. This defence is amazing.

27min: QLD 6-0 NSW

NSW DROPOUT! NSW keep the Maroons out again but not without being forced into another dropout. This time it was Munster kicking on the last and it generates the same result. QLD look like they're just trying to ware this defence down.

26min: QLD 6-0 NSW

It's not a dropout but it's another set for the Maroons. Slater has the ball on the last and tries a chip but it goes into Cordner's face, bounces forward and into Trobojevic's hands. That's ruled an accidental offside by the refs so it's a QLD scrum on the NSW 10m.

24min: QLD 6-0 NSW

NSW DROPOUT! Another perfectly weighted grubber from DCE pins NSW down again. It's all one way traffic so far.

22min: QLD 6-0 NSW

QLD make a strategic kick through DCE on the third and it's perfect. Holds up in the NSW in-goal and Trbojevic has to try and run it out. He just gets out and plays the ball 1m from his line. That gives the Maroons massive momentum for the set and NSW can only make 23m on the set. They try a clearing kick on the last tackle but another strong return leads to a penalty. QLD kick for touch, new set to come 25m from the NSW line.

20min: QLD 6-0 NSW

NSW go high on the final tackle and it comes down on the QLD 10m. Addo-Carr soars to tap it back but he's lost control doing it. QLD scrum on their 10 to come.

17min: QLD 6-0 NSW

Pressure diverted as Kaufusi runs into contact and tries an unneeded offload that goes straight to NSW hands - would've been the last tackle 5m from the line if he had just gone to ground.

16min: QLD 6-0 NSW

NSW DROPOUT! QLD force another dropout after Holmes grubbers for the in-goal on the fourth tackle and catches NSW off guard. They recover in time but the best that can be done is putting the ball down. Relentless start from the Maroons.

14min: QLD 6-0 NSW

NSW's attack looks flat after that intercept. Only make 23m on their set after the kickoff and Cleary is forced to hoof it downfield but Slater brings it back to the QLD 20m. Two tackles into the set, Trbojevic is penalised for holding on too long. QLD kick for touch and get a new set 40m out.

12min: QLD 6-0 NSW

QLD TRY! NSW look set to score after a Cook linebreak leads to a 77m set and a final tackle on the QLD 10m. They go left to Tedesco and he tries a skip pass to the wing but Holmes reads it perfectly and takes the intercept 90m to score at the other end. Follows up by converting his own try.

9min: QLD 0-0 NSW

Boom! Vaughan puts a massive hit on Arrow on his own tryline and forces a knock on. Massive defensive play early on. NSW scrum on their 10m.

8min: QLD 0-0 NSW

NSW DROPOUT! QLD use a couple of hit ups to get inside the NSW 10m. On the last tackle, DCE grubbers through to the right wing and all Addo-Carr can do is put the ball down. 

7min: QLD 0-0 NSW

First error of the night sees Maloney lose the ball in contact on halfway so QLD have good territory for a zero count.

4min: QLD 0-0 NSW

QLD NO TRY! A fairy tail start for Slater is robbed by the Bunker! DCE floats a kick to the ingoal and Slater rises from nowhere to contest it and get the ball down. However, replays suggest Slater juggled it in the contest and lost the ball so it's a knock on. NSW restart on their 10m. Still, positive start for the Maroons.

2min: QLD 0-0 NSW

Good start for QLD as they get 57m on the set before a DCE low-driven kick pins NSW down inside their 10m. NSW responds with hit ups in the middle, making 36m on the set before Cleary hoofs it downfield and Slater takes it clean. Runs it back and he's smashed by a shoulder charge by Mitchell! QLD get a penalty for the hit so they start their set on halfway.

KICKOFF

Blues get us underway and we're off at Suncorp!

PRE-GAME

A roar from the crowd as Slater leads the Maroons out onto Suncorp. He's looking calm.

Billy Slater of Queensland attacks during the State of Origin rugby league Game III decider between Queensland and New South Wales, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia. 12 July 2017. Copyright Image: Tertius Pickard / www.photosport.nz
Billy Slater of Queensland attacks during the State of Origin rugby league Game III decider between Queensland and New South Wales, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Source: Photosport

PREVIEW

It may be a dead rubber on paper, but be rest assured both teams are hungry to come away with a win tonight in Brisbane.

For the Maroons, there's the departure of the last man standing from the "big four" - Billy Slater.

Not only is tonight's contest Slater's last in maroon; he also gets the chance to lead the team as its captain after Greg Inglis was ruled out with a thumb injury.

But The Kid isn't calling it destiny - in fact, if he had it his way he'd have Inglis over the captaincy in a heartbeat.

"It is a huge honour. Only 13 men have had the opportunity to lead this great team and this great state and I am very proud to be captain of the Queensland Maroons," Slater said.

"(But) I'd much rather have the big fella in the centres playing alongside me."

For the Blues, they're desperate to well and truly put the final nail in the coffin of Queensland's dominance over the last decade with their first whitewash in 18 years, having already won the series with victories in games one and two.

But NSW coach Brad Fittler isn't taking anything for granted, respecting that while the outfit may no longer have the likes of Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith or Cooper Cronk in it, it's still the Maroons.

"I don't know why they are so hard," Fittler told Nine's Sunday Footy Show.

"I think pride plays a big part in it. Especially going home like Queensland are, they wouldn't be in this position too many times."

TEAMS

QLD: 1. Billy Slater 2. Valentine Holmes 3. Dane Gagai 4. Will Chambers 5. Corey Oates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Jai Arrow 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Josh Papalii 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Felise Kaufusi 13. Josh Mcguire

Interchange: 14. Ben Hunt 15. Jarrod Wallace 16. Coen Hess 17. Tim Glasby

NSW: 1. James Tedesco 2. Tom Trbojevic 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. James Roberts 5. Josh Addo-carr 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. David Klemmer 9. Damien Cook 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Tyson Frizell 13. Jack de Belin

Interchange: 14. Tariq Sims 15. Jake Trbojevic 16. Angus Crichton 17. Tyrone Peachey


Topics



Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy defends Storm from Sharks 'grubs' attack

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says Cronulla's verbal attack on his team is laughable, adding further spice to their NRL preliminary final tomorrow night.

The AAMI Park clash is threatening to erupt after barbs were launched this week from the Sharks, prompting Bellamy to defend his team today.

Sharks prop Matt Prior claimed the Storm practised ugly, niggling tactics.

"Most other clubs in the competition would be sitting back laughing about them calling us grubs," Bellamy said.

"They're trying to make out they're holier-than-thou and they're the squeaky- clean Sharks.

"Well, we all know better than that."

No love has been lost between the two sides since Cronulla's drought-breaking 2016 grand final win, with the Sharks dominating Melbourne since.

Bellamy said the Storm needed to put the blinkers on and focus on playing their own game.

"Whatever that record is we haven't had the best of it but the games have always been close," he said.

Craig Bellamy coach of the Melbourne Storm. Source: Photosport

"We haven't changed things too much, some of our starts have been pretty poor when we've played them but we need to stick to what works for us and stick to the plan."

The Storm were preparing for Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen to play in the grand final qualifier despite a serious shoulder injury.

Gallen's inclusion will set the scene for another round with Storm centre Will Chambers, who was suspended for a grapple tackle on the Sharks forward earlier in the season.

Chambers hasn't played for the past month due to a three-match ban with his Storm coach saying he wanted controlled aggression from the Test and State of Origin centre.

"He's been training hard so hopefully he will be OK," Bellamy said.

"He's played a lot of big games, it's not like he's a 21-year-old coming in.

"Hopefully he's learnt from a couple of games this year when he's been suspended.

"We don't need that from him.

"We need him to go and get his job done and be aware when it's the right time to do certain things and when it's the wrong time."

Billy Slater. Vodafone Warriors v Melbourne Storm, NRL Rugby League round 19, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. 22 July 2018. Copyright Image: Renee McKay / www.photosport.nz
The Storm celebrate in their 12-6 win over the Warriors. Source: Photosport


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TODAY'S
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'We went away from game plan' - Warriors women eager to bounce back in must win Broncos match

The Warriors women face a tough task ahead of them tomorrow night, as they come up against premiership leaders the Brisbane Broncos in Melbourne in a must win match to keep their finals hopes alive.

Warriors hooker Krystal Rota says her team have learned from their Dragons 22-10 loss in Sydney last week and that her side need to return to what worked for them in their round one win over the Roosters.

"I just think we went away from game plan," said Rota.

"The first game we stuck to our game plan and defensive structures, when we played the Dragons we went away from that and obviously it didn't work for us."

The Warriors have to win tomorrow night's game by a big margin, to secure themselves a spot in next week's grand final.

Onjeurlina Leiataua on attack. Roosters v Warriors, NRL Holden Women's Premiership.  ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia. 8th Sept 2018. Copyright Photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
Warriors women player Onjeurlina Leiataua on attack against the Sydney Roosters. Source: Photosport


The Brisbane Broncos women are undefeated in the competition and are guaranteed a spot in the final.

Warriors hooker Krystal Rota believes her side will learn from their 22-10 loss to the Dragons as they prepare for Brisbane tomorrow night in Melbourne. Source: Te Karere

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Jared Waerea-Hargreaves says Roosters in fine form without enforcer Dylan Napa ahead of NRL finals

The numbers show Jared Waerea-Hargreaves won't rest without front-row starting partner Dylan Napa, but the Sydney Roosters hard man insists it's not a one-man job to uphold a perfect record without the Queenslander this year.

The Roosters will play without Napa for a third straight game in Saturday night's grand-final qualifier against South Sydney, after he was suspended last month for the knock out blow on Brisbane's Andrew McCullough.

Having battled injuries both during and after Queensland's State of Origin campaign before the latest suspension, Napa has missed six games this year - of which the Roosters have won all six.

And he largely has Waerea-Hargreaves to thank for it up front.

The Kiwi prop's top three running games this year have all come while Napa has been missing for either all or the majority of those games, including his herculean 215-metre effort against Penrith in round 15 when his Queensland front row partner had left the field early.

But he maintained it wasn't just he who had stood up this year during any absence in the pack.

"Obviously when you have players like Napa, Sio Siua (Taukeiaho), Zane (Tetevano) in the team with experience, you share the workload," he said.

"When you get these younger boys and they don't play as much time, obviously statistically you are going to do more work because you are out there longer.

"But we have guys in the team like (bench forwards) Lindsay (Collins), (Nat) Butcher and Ryan Matterson that I've really enjoyed their growth this year."

"To see them grow with the confidence they have now 26 rounds in, you build that relationship and trust."

Waerea-Hargreaves and the Roosters' pack have had their help too in terms of the territorial battle.

Cooper Cronk is ranked second in the league for average kick metres, while the 688 metres he booted against Cronulla in week one of the finals was the most by any player in any game this year according to Fox Sports Stats.

Blake Ferguson and James Tedesco are also the NRL's two leading metre-eaters in the competition this year, while Daniel Tupou is ranked sixth to make for the best running and most powerful back three in the NRL to kickstart their sets.

"For myself and Fergo we just love doing it," Tupou said.

"We know it helps the forwards out and puts them on the front foot.

"That helps out not just the forwards but the whole team, especially with Cooper and his kicking game."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves runs the ball during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session at Kippax Lake Oval on September 18, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves runs the ball during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session at Kippax Lake Oval in Sydney. Source: Getty


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'The public's only heard one side of the story' - Bunnies coach defends Sam Burgess over ongoing sexting scandal

South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold says people will soon be able to make up their mind on the sexting scandal that has embroiled Sam Burgess, claiming they had only heard one side of the story.

Seibold was also adamant the off-field controversy had only made the Rabbitohs tougher ahead of Saturday night's NRL preliminary final against Sydney Roosters.

The NRL integrity unit's probe into allegations lewd images were sent to a young woman from one of Burgess' social media accounts are expected to conclude by Thursday despite reports of a setback.

An emotional Burgess addressed the scandal on Tuesday, repeatedly saying he would be "happy for the truth to come out" without going into specifics.

Seibold echoed Burgess' thoughts after saluting his team's resilience for overcoming the off-field distraction in their dramatic 13-12 semi-final win over St George Illawarra.

The allegations were made public on the eve of the Rabbitohs' clash with the Dragons although the alleged incident occurred back in May.

"The public has only heard one side of the story," Seibold told Sky Sports Radio.

"The investigation will hopefully conclude today or tomorrow and then people can make up their own mind on the story that has been out there.

"Obviously it wasn't ideal having the club on the front page and being the lead story on most of the news agencies across the country on Friday and Saturday last week but I thought the guys showed a lot of resolve."

The Rabbitohs may be expecting a verdict before the grand final qualifier however reports suggest the NRL's investigation hit a snag.

Fairfax reported the woman at the centre of the allegations had refused to speak with investigators from both the Rabbitohs and the NRL when contacted while on holiday in South Africa.

Either way, Seibold said the ongoing scandal compounded by back to back one point finals finishes had only steeled his side ahead of their clash with the minor premiers.

South Sydney No.7 Adam Reynolds' three field goals helped the Rabbitohs pull off a stunning one point win over the Dragons a week after falling short 29-28 to Melbourne in a qualifying final.

"I think the hard football is making us tougher," Seibold said.

"And we've shown we can handle pressure. I think we have shown a lot of resolve and resilience.

"We are not fatigued by any means. We are really confident heading into the Roosters game."

Sam Burgess of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Source: Photosport


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