Queensland has won the 2020 State of Origin series after beating out New South Wales 20-14 in a gruelling game three decider that went right down to the wire.
The match was the largest sporting event anywhere in the world since the coronavirus pandemic took hold with 52,000 fans packed into Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
Although the Blues mounted a late comeback in the final stages with the maroons down to 12 men, Queensland bravely held on after dominating possession.
The home side out-muscling New South Wales in a brutal contest that saw James Tedesco knocked out in a sickening collision mid-way through the first half and two pitch invaders dragged off by security guards.
In the dying moments of the game, Cody Walker was also knocked unconscious in yet another ugly incident.
Queensland have won the 2020 State of Origin series after beating out New South Wales in a gruelling game three decider that went right down to the wire
Queensland are pictured holding up the shield after winning the series
Although the Blues mounted a late comeback, the maroons dominated possession and out-muscled New South Wales in a brutal contest
It didn’t take long for Queensland to stamp their authority with winger Valentine Holmes diving over in the corner to score a try in just the third minute of the match.
The Blues quickly hit back after debutant fullback Corey Allan dropped a NSW bomb and gifted a try to James Tedesco just five minutes later making the score 6-6.
Shorty after in the 20th minute, disaster struck for Blues.
Tedesco, who is regarded as one of the world’s best players, was knocked out after running the ball back from a kick return.
He slipped and crashed into the legs of a Queensland chaser in a sickening collision leaving him visually uneasy on his feet.
Tedesco, who is regarded as one of the world’s best players, was knocked out after running the ball back from a kick return
Game three got off to a dramatic start with Queensland winger Valentine Holmes diving over in the corner in spectacular fashion to score a try in just the third minute of the match
The force of the impact snapped back Tedesco’s head back leaving him initially motionless on the ground.
After watching the replay showing Queensland forward Jai Arrow shoving the NSW’s fullback’s head while he lay unresponsive, commentator Andrew Johns labelled the move a ‘cheap shot’.
‘No need for that carry on by Jai Arrow,’ he said.
‘So he gets the knee here and he’s knocked out. He’s on the ground. That’s just not needed, the extra (from Arrow).
‘The game’s hard enough as it is without that rubbish coming into play.’
Moments later it was confirmed he will take no further part in the match.
Injured NSW star Tom Trbojevic told the Daily Telegraph it would be hard for the Blues to go on and win without Tedesco.
‘That’s huge. A massive loss for NSW. It won’t change a lot for NSW in terms of the game plan but Queensland feel on top at the moment. It’s not ideal.’
With the scores tied up, Queensland made it 12-6 moments before half-time through a cross-field Cameron Munster kick that was picked up by Edrick Lee.
Players are seen grappling during Game three of the 2020 State of Origin series in Brisbane
Fans fill the stands during Game three of the 2020 State of Origin series in Brisbane
When the players emerged from the half-time break, Queensland continued to assert their dominance and the weight of possession wore on New South Wales.
The maroons kicked penalty goal in the 57th minutes and then shortly after, talented young hooker Harry Grant crashed over close to the line.
It appeared the match was all but over until the Blues hit back with a try of their own through Daniel Tupou who got on the edge of overlap.
Queensland then made their way up the other end of the field squandering a chance to close out the match.
Valentine Holmes dropped a pass Corey Allan in 70th minute with the line wide open and two minutes later the Blues kicked a penalty goal bringing the match within six to 20-14.
The penalty infringement for taking out a New South Wales chaser also saw Allan sent to the sin bin for, leaving the maroons with 12 men.
In the dying stages of the game New South Wales five-eighth Cody Walker had to leave the field after clashing heads with a team mate.
In the dying stages of the game New South Wales five-eighth Cody Walker had to leave the field after clashing heads with a team mate
The clock was stopped for over minute and Walker was eventually taken from the field in a medi-cab stretcher
The clock was stopped for over minute and Walker was eventually taken from the field in a medi-cab stretcher.
Despite another significant player loss, New South Wales continued to attack the depleted Queensland line and almost snatched a last-minute leveller.
Rugby league die-hards descended on the iconic sporting ground full of energy after a long year of restricted crowd numbers.
At the ground it was a carnival atmosphere with almost the entire stadium made up of about 95 per cent Queensland supporters.
But there was a few brave Blues living in the state with enough courage to entire the Queensland Calderon.
A few Blues supporters are pictured riling up opposition fans before the match
Rugby league die-hards descended on the iconic sporting ground full of energy after a long year of restricted crowd numbers
There was a few brave Blues living in the state with enough courage to entire the Queensland Calderon
Midway through the opening 40, a tartan pyjama-wearing joker ran onto the field and was brought down by security staff.
Wide World of Sports commentators Ray Warren, Paul Vautin and Phil Gould were less than impressed with the man’s antics.
‘Oh there’s some idiot streaking,’ Warren said on the broadcast. ‘No, he’s got clothes on.’
‘A streaker in clothes?’ Vautin questioned.
‘When you go to Suncorp, this is what you’ve got to contend with,’ Gould said.
Another streaker also came onto the field in the second half and was eventually tackled by security guards.
The State of Origin is normally played in the mid-way through the season beginning in May, but his year the coronavirus pandemic saw the iconic sporting fixtures moved to the end of the regular season for the first time in the code’s history.
Cameron Munster was named Man of the series and claimed the Wally Lewis medal.
A member of the crowd (pictured) rushed onto the field during State of Origin in Brisbane
The pitch invader ran onto Suncorp Stadium early in the first half of the decider
Another streaker also came onto the field in the second half and was eventually tackled by security guards
Flames light up Suncorp Stadium ahead of State of Origin Game three