The first State of Origin game for 2020 delivered a classic match, ending in a miraculous win for Queensland. Despite facing a two-point deficit and losing Tom Flegler to the sin-bin, the Maroons prevailed, winning 26-18 and taking a 1-0 lead in the series. There were several key moments that defined the game and kept watchers on the edge of their seats.
James Tedesco is renowned for his ability to find space and score tries, but it was Murray Taulagi who stole the show early on. Tedesco found himself with just Taulagi to beat for a try-scoring opportunity, but the Queensland centre managed to deny him his moment twice. Although the Bunker was called upon to rule whether the ball had touched the ground, there was not enough clear evidence to overturn the on-field call. The Blues were denied crucial points, and it was a lucky break for Queensland.
Despite having 56% possession in the first half, the Blues found themselves trailing by four points. They needed something to go their way, and they were gifted a try by Valentine Holmes, who attempted an ill-advised offload under pressure. Api Koroisau knocked the ball down, and Api scooted across the line to level the score. Andrew Johns called it a “dubious” try, yet it stood.
Queensland’s luck appeared to run out with the sin-binning of Tom Flegler in the second half. Referee Ashley Klein penalised Flegler for a high shot on Tom Trbojevic, which was deemed a careless high tackle by the officials. Maroons great Paul Vautin disagreed, and said on a hot mic that it was “one of the worst sin-bins I’ve ever seen in my life.” However, Queensland did not let the setback break their spirits.
The Maroons shifted the ball left through Cameron Munster and passed to Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow on the wing, who scored a wonderful solo try, despite being outnumbered. Tabuai-Fidow shoved aside Josh Addo-Carr, causing Tedesco to slip, and scoring the decisive try of the match to give the Maroons the lead once more.
The game was still on the line as the clock ticked down. Daly Cherry-Evans put up a kick on the fifth tackle, and Lindsay Collins seized the opportunity. Collins ran past five Blues defenders, leaping above Tedesco to catch the ball. He then immediately looked for a pass to Munster, who scored the try that sealed the win and sparked wild celebrations among the Maroons team and supporters.