As a precursor to the main match between the New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons, the wheelchair representative players from each side did battle at the Quaycentre, located a few hundred kilometres away from ANZ Stadium along Olympic Boulevard. That match saw the Blues cruise to a comfortable 54-18 victory over a gallant, but inexperienced Maroons outfit.
The Blues were expected to merely O’Loughlin through the inexperienced Maroons, and the early signs were rather ominous for the Queenslanders, as New South Wales dominated possession, but were only able to cross the stripe once through Brad Grove. They would later make more of their dominance, as they crossed for a further two tries, to extend their lead to 16-0. The Maroons would reduce the deficit to 16-6, before the Blues would further extend their lead to a whopping 32-6 at the break. By the time the interval had come, Blues player Brad Grove had a hat-trick of tries next to his name.
The second half saw the Blues go on with the job, to score an additional 18 points. To the inexperienced Maroons’ credit, they never gave up and would add an additional 12 points to their tally. Despite this, it was a somewhat similar story to the first half in that the Blues were never really troubled, regardless of the efforts of the Maroons, as they gave their opponents a major lesson. The final score would eventually be 54-18. Another similarity to the first half is that Grove would add a further three tries to his name to finish with six tries for the match.
Given his final tally of six tries, it should come as no surprise that Grove scored man of the match honours for the Blues. For Queensland, speedster James Hill was adjudged as their man of the match. The Maroons’ final tally of 18 points was actually more than they had scored for the last few years, meaning that they are continually improving as the years go by. There is minimal doubt that if they continue to exert as much effort as they did today, they will give the Blues an abundance of competition to work with in future years. This is especially given the fact that the game of wheelchairs rugby league is gaining more exposure. However, for now we must raise our glass to the Blues on their victory. Congratulations.
Did you catch the Wheelchair State of Origin clash on Sunday? Let us know in the comments below.