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Maroons wear winners' grins in Sydney

Published: 11:19PM Wednesday July 02, 2008 Source: AAP

Queensland claimed its third State of Origin series in a row when they won a physical deciding third match 16-10 against NSW at ANZ Stadium.

The Blues led 10-8 at half time and the game was locked up at 10-10 until Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston produced the game-winning play in the 67th minute.

Thurston shows his class

With both sides out on their feet, Thurston sold the opposition a dummy with his favourite "show and go" play which left prop Brett White and rookie halfback Mitchell Pearce grasping at air as he speared through a gap and unloaded to a flying Billy Slater for the match-winning try.

"The old 'show and go' .... thank you baby," said man-of-the-match and player-of-the-series Thurston of his big play.

Queensland hung on to their 16-10 lead in the gripping final 10 minutes to edge ahead of the Blues 13 series wins to 12.

Their win denied NSW skipper Danny Buderus a winning Origin farewell in his 21st consecutive Origin and his 15th as captain.

Queensland halfback Scott Prince watched the last half from the sideline, his left arm in plaster after fracturing it trying to tackle Braith Anasta 15 minutes into the fiery clash which featured two brawls.

Queensland forward Nate Myles, who was outstanding in the heavy action, was put on report for a dangerous throw on Ben Cross in the 47th minute with the NSW forward landing awkwardly on his head.

Replays of the incident showed Myles was lucky to stay on the field and also showed Cross throwing a few haymakers at him as he was held by NSW teammates.

Origin record

Queensland, with it's young back line, now has a chance to create Origin history as the first team to win four straight series next year, with Mal Meninga, the first coach since Arthur Beetson in 1982-84 to win three successive series.

"Winning three series is special," said Queensland captain Cameron Smith.

"This is a special groups of guys coached by a special coach."

Queensland winger Israel Folau scored two tries, his second a spectacular aerial grab and put down that was impossible to defend against.

NSW scored the opening try when centre Matt Cooper stretched out over the line in Brent Tate's bootlace tackle.

Forward Craig Fitzgibbon edged NSW ahead 10-8 in the 28th minute with a close range penalty.

Thurston levelled at 10-10 with a simply penalty after he was knocked over by Paul Gallen before Slater, who was magnificent at fullback when Karmichael Hunt moved to five-eighth following Prince's injury, sealed the win with his fifth Origin try.