Maroons win first Origin match

Normal, Sports

The National, Tuesday 29th November 2011

MORATA 1 Maroons beat Morata 2 Blues 10-4 in the first of the three-match State of Origin series at the Kone Tigers Oval on Sunday in front of league fans who braved the light afternoon showers to cheer their teams. 
The Maroons ran in two tries to Blues’ one to claim victory.
The victory will also give the Morata 1 players confidence going into the next match in two weeks.
Young winger Sila John, who made his debut for the Maroons scored a try in the 17th minute. Another debutant Temai John picked up another in the 27th minute to lead 8-0. Blues hit back with a try to Gilbert Gabriel to trail 4-8 at the break.
Both sides threw everything in the second half but it was the Maroons who prevailed after holding off their opponents and denying them any chances of scoring tries.
Blues have themselves to blame for causing too many ball handling errors which the Maroons capitalized on.
Their veteran halfback Kapi James continued to direct traffic for his charges but with the slight drizzle, it did not help their cause.
Maroons pushed their nose ahead when they were awarded a penalty and James converted to take their lead to 10-4.
They step up their defence and denied any chances of the Blues to make a comeback.
Despite the trio of Mek Peter, Warren Metofa and five-eighth Noel Joel putting up a tireless effort, the Maroons did not waver and held on for victory.
“I am just proud of my boys. We were desperate for a win and we got it. We will return even stronger in the second game,” Maroons coach Frank Fraka said.
However, Blues coach Yanga Harupa blamed their loss on drop balls and defence lapses.
“We caused a lot of drop balls and cost us the game. The pressure will be on them to maintain their form,” he said.
“But we will surely make up for the loss in the game two