Next generation stands tall in Maroons loss

New faces, new skills, but still the same intense Origin atmosphere we've always loved.

Life without Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk began promisingly, but ultimately without victory for the Queensland Maroons.

After the representative retirements of the Origin mainstays, plus the injury-forced withdrawal of Billy Slater, Queensland suffered a 22-12 defeat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

With Greg Inglis leading from the front, producing inspired plays in attack and defence, the next generation of Maroons stepped up to the plate in front of 87,122 fans.

The opening exchanges had it all – big hits, line breaks and sustained pressure which tested the mettle of both teams.

James Maloney inflicted first points in the game with a penalty 19 minutes in after a play-the-ball infringement against the Maroons.

Queensland had a prime opportunity to strike back almost immediately when Felise Kaufusi was put into space down the right edge, but Will Chambers grassed a pass under pressure.

Immediately, the Blues struck back, with James Tedesco sliding over past some desperate cover defence, positioned well by Maloney for an 8-0 advantage

Queensland's response came via the fleet feet of Valentine Holmes who roared away at over 35kmh for an 80m effort and his fifth try at Origin level.

The newly anointed Maroons kicker then slotted a conversion without bother to leave the game in the balance at 8-6 at fulltime.

His kicking boots remained on target when Queensland drew first blood in the second half.
Dane Gagai pounced on a rolling grubber in-goal and Holmes converted out wide for a 12-8 edge.

It was only five minutes of grace until Latrell Mitchell twisted over through three defenders and suddenly the score was locked up 12-12.

Tom Trbojevic made it a double blow when he leapt above Gagai three minutes later, and Maloney potted the kick for the Blues to go 18-12 up.

That lead extended when debutant Josh Addo-Carr found himself on the end of a backline movement for a 22-12 margin with 10 minutes remaining.

All eyes were on Anthony Milford to see if he could inject any spark in the closing stages and turn the tide, but he was well-contained by a deserving Blues side.

In positive signs for Queensland, rookies Andrew McCullough (50), Felise Kaufusi (47) and Jai Arrow (23) all shouldered a heavy workload in defence.

Valentine Holmes led the way for distance ran with over 200m passing beneath his feet.

Final team lists and full scoring details available at QRL Live.

NEW SOUTH WALES 22 (James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Addo-Carr tries; James Maloney 3 tries) def QUEENSLAND 12 (Valentine Holmes, Dane Gagai tries; Valentine Holmes 2 goals) at Melbourne Cricket Ground.