RETIRING skipper Paul Gallen has urged fans to stick with a rebuilding New South Wales team next year under coach Laurie Daley and he will deliver them a State of Origin series win.
Speaking minutes after the Blues’ last-gasp 18-14 win over a brave Queensland to avoid their first clean sweep since 2010, Gallen said Daley had the makings of a great NSW side and fans should get behind it next year.
The Blues, who only lost the first game 6-4, took 79 minutes to wear down the champion Maroons side with a try to veteran centre Michael Jennings with the clock about the enter the 80th minute.
It came after debutant fullback James Tedesco had gone within centimetres of being the hero until being dragged down in a desperate tackle from behind by Cooper Cronk.
The ball then swung left to Gallen, who fittingly not only delivered the winning pass to Jennings but then stepped up and kicked his one and only goal.
“I thought I may have slid over. I was out of my feet and I had a cork. I had nothing left. It would have been nice to get the try,” said an elated Tedesco in the Blues sheds.
“The boys try and tell you through the week what it is going to be like but it’s pretty hard to describe it. I struggled the whole game. I was disappointed I didn’t score the winner but to see Jenko (Jennings) get it was pretty special.”
It was a magnificent battle that went right to the wire and has now confirmed NSW is on the way back, with Daley blooding a number of new faces this series, including Matt Moylan, Tedesco and Tyson Frizell.
Daley gambled on starting Moylan, who played the first two games at fullback, in the No.6 jumper and the Panthers star delivered after some nervous early minutes.
While Cameron Smith lifted the Origin Shield in front of the crowd, the night belonged to NSW and its fans, who had been waiting for a win like this since being humiliated 52-6 in the corresponding game of last year’s series in Brisbane.
Now the Blues have shown they can go with Queensland and stay in the fight for 80 minutes and even pull out their own “miracle” tries.
Next year’s series can’t come around quick enough for them.