There was disbelief around Australia on Wednesday night when Maroons captain Daly Cherry-Evans was booed on Queensland soil after State of Origin Game III.
The Maroons won 20-18 at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast to prevent NSW from completing a rare series clean-sweep.
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'WHAT'S GOING ON': State of Origin rocked by 'ugly' crowd farce
Queensland rallied after losing the lead early in the first half, then defended their line as the Blues looked set to break their hearts at the death.
Makeshift hooker Ben Hunt scored twice, Queensland fullback Kalyn Ponga was electric in his first game of the series and punches were thrown on the full-time siren as Paul Green's under-pressure side breathed some late life into a series they had already meekly surrendered.
But despite the win in the dead-rubber game, Queensland fans in attendance weren't impressed.
Skipper Cherry-Evans was savagely booed as he made his way to the podium in the post-match presentation.
Some thought fans might still be seething about DCE's infamous decision to backflip on the Gold Coast Titans and stay at Manly, while others suggested the anger was because Queensland had lost the opening two games with a combined scoreline of 76-6.
Either way, fans expressed their shock and confusion that a Maroons captain would ever be booed on Queensland soil.
Hahaha they haven’t forgot on the Goldie about DCE.
Which is unusual, given the Goldie usually wipes all memory.
— Adam Peacock (@adampeacock3) July 14, 2021
Disgraceful disrespectful booing by the crowd.
— Nelson (@Nelsonvvvv) July 14, 2021
How about we NEVER play a game in the Gold Coast again, the booing is crap #Origin
— Nicole Palmer (@Palms04) July 14, 2021
— Jelisa Apps (@JelisaApps) July 14, 2021
Even Queensland don’t like DCE. It’s the equivalent of NSW booing Gallen. #Origin
— Justin™ (@FutbolJustin) July 14, 2021
What the hell is with all the booing during this presentation #Origin
— Emily Clooney (@EmilyClooney_) July 14, 2021
There were also bizarre scenes when the Maroons were booed as they made their way out onto the field for their warmup.
Many pointed out that NSW enjoyed some massive crowd support despite the game being played in Queensland.
AAP journalist Scott Bailey wrote: “Compare this crowd to the one-sided support Queensland had for Game I in Townsville, also organised on short notice.
“This is an absolute low for the Maroons.”
Queensland save some face in Origin series finale
Green lauded his men after "living through" and prevailing in a classic State of Origin win that restored pride and dashed NSW's hopes of a rare series clean sweep.
"We talk about Origin efforts and sometimes don't know what your'e talking about, but our team lived through that tonight," Green said.
"(I'm) really happy; it was a great win ... it was a real Origin-type game and we came out on top."
The Blues looked on track for their first series sweep since 2000 when called-up No.6 Jack Wighton burst over for a 12-8 lead early in the second half.
But two late tries from Hunt gave Queensland an eight-point lead and helped them hold on for victory.
Despite the loss, it was still the biggest series margin win in Origin history for NSW, the Blues outscoring Queensland by 68 points to eclipse their 62-point margin set in 2000.
"I don't think it slipped away, I never felt we were in control at any stage really," Blues coach Brad Fittler said.
"We had our chances at the death but weren't playing good enough to take those and that's why they're (clean sweeps) hard ... that was their (Queensland's) best game of the series without a doubt."
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