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Rugby League

Maroons extend purple patch over Blues

New South Wales 14 Queensland 24

Queensland became the first side in State of Origin history to win four series' in a row by beating New South Wales 24-14 in an error-ridden contest in Sydney.

The victory gives the Maroons an unassailable two-nil lead in this year's series, last won by the Blues way back in 2005.

This win, in front of a an 80,000 NSW crowd at the ANZ Stadium, was not quite as straightforward as seemed likely in the early stages, when the Queenslanders built up an 18-point lead by exploiting a string of mistakes.

Paul Gallen's loose pass was picked up by Israel Folau, who went 70 metres to set up the first try, scored by Greg Inglis.

Folau claimed the second himself, after David Williams lost the ball in a tackle, and the Queensland captain, Darren Lockyer, got the third from Ben Creagh's fumble.

By that time, Inglis was off the field, concussed by a high tackle from the former Wigan stand-off, Trent Barrett, for which he was placed on report.

Queensland had another three men playing on despite injuries, as well as five feeling the after-effects of a stomach bug that went through their camp, making this one of the grittiest of Origin victories. It was Jarryd Hayne who brought the Blues back into the game, scoring one try with an intercept and another from close range.

When Williams got over just after the hour, NSW were only four points behind and in with a chance of stealing the game. They could not find a knock-out punch, however, and Cameron Smith made it safe for Queensland.

For the first time in over 20 years, the match was not seen by British viewers, because of the closure of Setanta.

*Bradford could have a 17-year-old forward making his Super League debut in the derby at Leeds tomorrow. James Donaldson has been included in the Bulls' squad, in the absence of the injured Glenn Morrison and Julien Rinaldi, but the idea of bringing back Wayne Godwin after his broken leg has been shelved for the moment.

The Rhinos have Ryan Bailey and Matt Diskin back for a game which should attract their biggest gate of the season. Unusually for a meeting with Bradford, it is not being televised. Leeds have strengthened their ties with Whitehaven as part of their involvement with the game in Cumbria.