Paul Gallen defends Nate Myles hit as NSW wins first Origin
NEW South Wales has scored a convincing 14-6 win over Queensland in the first State of Origin clash in front of a sea of Blues supporters.
Queensland found itself in trouble at halftime of Origin I at ANZ Stadium, trailing 14-0 at the break.
The visitors had their first real chance at posting points after 33 minutes.
That was when their ever-dangerous five-eighth Johnathan Thurston threw a lovely ball to his winger Darius Boyd five metres out from the Blues' line.
But he was bundled into touch in a try-saving tackle from Blues centre Josh Morris.
Do you think Paul Gallen should have been sent off for punching Nate Myles?
This poll ended on 20 June 2013.
No - but he should have been sinbinned
No - penalty and report is enough
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Blues left-centre Michael Jennings then put the hosts up 14-0 after 38 minutes, by ducking, weaving and burrowing his way to the line, rounding out a dominant first 40 minutes from his teammates.
NSW, spurred on by 80,000 fans decked out in blue at ANZ Stadium, took the early momentum in the game.
Following a pinpoint kick by debutant five-eighth James Maloney, Luke Lewis popped a classy inside ball for fullback Jarryd Hayne to score after five minutes, Maloney potting the ball over from out wide, then following with a penalty goal.
The hosts continued their early progress in the 20th minute, with a Maloney bust leading to a penalty for holding in the tackle, but Maloney missed the penalty kick to keep his side's 8-0 lead.
There was plenty of controversy in the dying stages of the first half when Paul Gallen hit Nate Myles.
Myles has been irritating NSW over past series' with his running style and, according to Gallen, a tendency to twist knees in the tackle.
There were also reports that a NSW fan jumped the fence and tackled the Maroons mascot while Gallen was punching Myles.
The New South Wales juggernaut continued into the second half, second-rower Luke Lewis leading the way and always a danger when receiving the ball.
He was put through a hole after 49 minutes, but spilled the ball near the line a few plays later.
The Maroons finally wrestled their way onto the scoreboard at the hour mark, following a clever dummy-half run by Justin Hodges.
Hodges then flicked the ball to Billy Slater in support, Slater finding Brent Tate.
The Queenslanders then spun the ball to the left, with some nice Greg Inglis footwork, before he found Boyd unmarked to take the score to 14-6, following Cameron Smith's conversion from out wide.
The visitors continued their late surge after 75 minutes, with Nate Myles putting Billy Slater into a gap, but Jarryd Hayne brought the champion custodian down in a terrific cover tackle.
Sam Thaiday charged onto the ball moments later in good position, but a huge hit from Greg Bird saw him cough up the ball, with that all but sealing the game for the hosts.
Gallen defended his attack on Myles at the end of the game, saying someone had to stand up to him.