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Blues win the best of Daley's career

AAP
Thursday, May 29, 2014

Update: 1:30AM An emotional Laurie Daley says NSW 12-8 win over Queensland to open a 1-0 lead in the State of Origin series was the finest performance he's been involved in during his illustrious career.

The Blues coach, who has skippered the state to a series win in Queensland, admitted he was emotionally drained from the experience and backed his side to go on and finish the job in game two in three weeks' time.

"In the past it's always been the opposition they talk about, well they should now talk about us," Daley said.

"We had a truckload of injuries. Blokes who should have come off in the first half but stayed out there because we needed them to.

"Origin is about hanging tough ... that performance under duress is as good as I have been associated with. It was an A grade performance."

Skipper Paul Gallen said the final 15 minutes when Queensland laid siege to his side's line was the hardest of his long career and hailed the defensive effort of his team.

"The second half was one of toughest games I have been in," he said.

"They really aimed up as they are a great side.

"They were winning territorial battle, but we just kept scrambling."

"There's three games and we have to win more and will go to Sydney with confidence.

Jarryd Hayne was named man of the match following a scintillating display that saw him sizzle in attack in the first half by setting up a Brett Morris try and scoring one of his own.

In the second he excelled in attack and made a try-saving play to deny Chris McQueen by getting his fingertips to a Johnathan Thurston grubber-kick before the back-rower could pounce.

"He was outstanding," Daley said.

"But for us it's about our team. Gal plead a great captain's knock, the forwards were outstanding - it was a real team effort."

Maroons coach Mal Meninga admitted the loss of Cooper Cronk with a broken arm early in the first half was blow, but said Daly Cherry-Evans was more than up to the task of replacing the halfback.

"It was a great game, the effort from both sides was fantastic," Meninga said.

"We tried hard, missed a few opportunities, it was two tries all and unfortunately Johnathan (Thurston) missed a kick, but we live to battle another day.

"Cooper has a broken arm and will be operated on tomorrow.

"We're lucky we have Daly, but it does throw you off as it leave your bench down to three and in this environment it was tough for the players.

"NSW to their credit were outstanding, their kick chase was superb."

Maroons skipper Cameron Smith backed his side's experience to be key in helping them overturn the 1-0 deficit in Sydney.

Queensland overcome defeats in game one in 2008 and last year and Smith said there in no reason why they can't do it again.

"We've been behind before, but it would be nice to be 1-0, but we have the staff and players ready to do that," Smith said.

"I am pleased with the overall effort. But there's some areas we need to look at."





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