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Brown field goal sinks Sky Blues in Origin thriller

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A Lauren Brown field goal in the dying stages broke the hearts of the Hunter, and the NSW Sky Blues, at McDonald Jones Stadium on Thursday night.

In front of a massive crowd, and despite poor weather conditions, the centre calmly potted the one-pointer – on 6 June – to guide the Queensland Maroons to an 11-10 Women’s State of Origin thriller, keeping the first best-of-three-match series alive.

Even Channel Nine commentator Phil Gould labelled the spectacle, thanks to a maiden sell-out event in Newcastle, a turning point for the female game.  

“We’ll remember this [night] for a long time,” he said.

“The Hunter’s really turned it on… what an atmosphere.”

Leading the charge for NSW were Knights Caitlan Johnston, Yasmin Clydsdale and Olivia Higgins, who embraced the hometown environment.

The three, all members of Newcastle’s premiership-winning team from the past two seasons, did the local community proud, playing a major role in the Sky Blues’ gallant performance.

After an impressive opening period, NSW finally cracked Queensland’s defence in the 25th minute.

Following a terrific run by centre Jessica Sergis, lock Keeley Davis dived over from dummy half. Halfback Rachael Pearson converted for a 6-0 lead.

And, although they enjoyed the better of the half, the Sky Blues held that narrow advantage at the break.

Davis then went close in the 41st minute when she was held up over the line.

However, the Maroons retaliated soon after.

In the 54th minute, skipper Ali Brigginshaw sent a cut-out pass to No. 3 Shenae Ciesiolka, who scored out wide. Brown failed to convert, the visitors trailing 6-4.

Then, against the run of play, Sergis stole the ball in a one-on-one tackle.

It allowed five-eighth Corban Baxter to dazzle a few Queenslanders, while putting Tiana Penitani in the corner. Pearson slipped during the conversion attempt, leaving the scoreline 10-4.

But, another twist was yet to come.

With less than 10 minutes remaining, Maroons playmaker Tarryn Aiken sliced through to touch down. Brown added the extras to lock it all up 10-all.

The latter then sealed the deal with a field goal in the 68th minute.

It was an incredible way to end a brilliant showdown.

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