BRISBANE // Mal Meninga celebrated a high-five with his Queensland team yesterday as they clinched Australia's State of Origin series. Israel Folau scored two tries as New South Wales were beaten 34-6 in Brisbane to give Queensland a record fifth consecutive series victory. "It was sensational," said Meninga, who has coached Queensland to all five wins stretching back to 2006. "We had a plan and we executed it really well and we had small goals and we executed all of them," he said.
"There's great leadership in this Queensland team and it was an exceptional performance." The Maroons scored six tries and Johnathon Thurston, the Australia half-back, kicked five goals to take the series 2-0 with a match to play after their 28-24 win in game one. The third game will be played in Sydney on July 7. Greg Inglis and Folau scored early tries to give Queensland a 10-0 lead after 10 minutes and total command of a bitter and often violent match.
Inglis was the subject of controversy in the lead up to the match when he was the target of an alleged racist comment by Andrew Johns, the New South Wales assistant coach and Australia rugby league great. The comment caused Timanu Tahu, the New South Wales centre, to walk out of a training camp in protest and forced Johns to step down from his coaching position, throwing his team's match preparation into chaos.
Inglis, who is of Aboriginal heritage, said Johns's comment had both angered and motivated him for the match. "I put a lot of that anger into my game," Inglis said. "I think you saw that out there. "I was very disappointed with what he said but that's all I'll say about that." Darius Boyd scored the third Queensland try for a 16-0 lead at half-time. Willie Tonga, Folau and Cooper Cronk scored in the second half as Queensland tore ahead 34-0, threatening to post their biggest-ever win over New South Wales.
The record margin of 30 points remained intact when Brett White scored New South Wales's only try a minute before full time. * Reuters