The Queensland Residents fell agonisingly short in their quest for a third-straight victory over New South Wales in their annual representative clash at Sydneys ANZ Stadium in July.
Both sides crossed for four tries each but it was the Blues who won out on the scoreboard 22-18. NSW winger Josh Mantellato booted three of his four conversion attempts to provide the host team with the upper hand.
However, it was Queensland who made all the early running, with a blistering finish from Ipswich winger Jarrod McInally providing the Maroons with a 4-0 lead. It became 10-0 just minutes later when skipper Tim Glasby carried several defenders over the line and Donald Malone converted.
Queensland were in complete control but momentum swung the NSW teams way when the referee ignored a forward pass signal from his touch judge and giant winger Taqele Naiyaravaro stormed down field. Naiyaravaro was cut down in a desperate try saving tackle.
But there was no escape for the Queenslanders, as centre Curtis Rona was controversially sent to the sin bin for a professional foul. NSW cashed in immediately, with Mantellato completing a neat backline shift to the right.
Queensland felt even more pain from the next set of six when a towering bomb fell favourably for NSW and Shaune Corrigan burrowed his way over for a 12-10 Blues lead at half-time.
Slippery halfback Sam Williams opened the scoring for NSW in the second half with a strong effort close to the line. But Queensland struck back almost immediately through fullback Hezron Murgha.
At that point, NSW held a slender 16-14 advantage and the game was anyones for the taking. However, it looked like it would be NSWs night when interchange forward Jason Clark swooped on a mistake from Queensland behind the posts and Mantellato converted for a 22-14 lead.
Queensland didnt shirk at the daunting task though, and looked threatening in the final 15 minutes when both Jake Granville and Kurt Baptiste were on the field. With five minutes to go, Queensland needed to score and thats exactly what they did when Malone found open space on the left.
His conversion attempt hit the post, and there was to be no fairytale finish for the Maroons as NSW held on in the dying minutes.
NEW SOUTH WALES CUP 22 (Josh Mantellato, Shaune Corrigan, Sam Williams, Jason Clark tries; Josh Mantellato 3 goals) def QUEENSLAND RESIDENTS 18 (Jarrod McInally, Tim Glasby, Hezron Murgha, Donald Malone tries; Donald Malone goal) at ANZ Stadium