Brad Fittler has praised his back three as the cornerstone of NSW's State of Origin I win, admitting he questioned whether his side would crumble under the pressure of a field position arm wrestle.
While fullback James Tedesco was widely lauded for his game-changing man of the match performance, Fittler said debutant wingers Josh Addo-Carr and Tom Trbojevic were just as vital.
The trio racked up a cumulative 493 metres and 27 tackle busts, according to Fox Sports Stats, much of it coming out of their own red zone.
And Fittler said when the game was in the balance and the Maroons were beginning to win the yardage battle, it was his back three that dug them out of trouble.
"Not just (Tedesco) but I thought all of them were exceptional, especially the back three," Fittler told Fox Sports News after returning to Sydney.
"They had to do a lot of work. Josh Addo-Carr and Tom Trbojevic, they scored brilliant tries. The back three were exceptional. You need that. Origin is all about bringing the ball off your own line.
"Two blokes hadn't been there before and one is only a few games into his Origin career, it was pretty impressive."
Rookie coach Fittler highlighted his side's ability to absorb pressure on their own goal line and then place Queensland under the pump.
"I didn't anticipate coming off our line for so long like we did," Fittler said.
"They handled it. I didn't know if they'd handle that part of it. They did a great job."
While Fittler celebrated with his players as they moved a step closer to claiming the Origin shield for the second time in 13 years, he emphasised the job wasn't done.
"To see those young fellas defend their line like they did, they made us very proud. We've won nothing as yet," Fittler said.
Pointing to the withdrawal of Billy Slater and the injury clouds over Ben Hunt and Dane Gagai in the lead up, Fittler predicted the Maroons would be a more difficult prospect in game two in Sydney on June 24.
"We got Queensland at the most vulnerable time I've ever seen them," Fittler said.