New South Wales have claimed just their second State of Origin series in 13 years after holding off a fast-finishing Queensland side to win 18-14 at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
Four long years after the Blues sealed their last series win, NSW overcame the second half sin-binning of centre James Roberts to toast success again in front of 82,223 fans on Sunday night.
It was a nightmare start for life without the Maroons' Big Three -- retired greats Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston -- but the stuff of dreams for long suffering Blues fans at a sold out ANZ Stadium.
Yet only something extraordinary it seemed would break the Maroons' hold on the Origin trophy after winning it a staggering 11 times in the past 12 years and the Blues inadvertently provided it with a rare penalty try to skipper Boyd Cordner in the 31st minute.
NSW were gifted four points when halfback Ben Hunt took out Cordner as the try-bound back-rower chased a James Maloney grubber. Remarkably, it marked the first Origin penalty try in 37 years.
NSW still did it the hard way, overcoming the sin-binning of Roberts in the 69th minute for obstructing Gavin Cooper as he tried to reel in a Ben Hunt kick to score.
Queensland threatened to break NSW hearts yet again when returning hero Billy Slater celebrated his landmark 30th Origin by helping the visitors race to a 10-0 lead after just 20 minutes. However, the Blues rallied to ensure Brad Fittler became just the sixth NSW coach to claim the Origin title in his first series.
Sadly, Cordner may not remember the famous victory - he was helped off the field in the 75th minute with concussion.
NSW held a 12-10 halftime lead after the early Queensland onslaught when wingers Valentine Holmes (13th minute) and Dane Gagai (20th) crossed inside the first 20 minutes.
It could have been worse for the hosts with Gagai denied a try by the video referee in the eighth minute when he found the speedster's leg was in touch.
After saving a try with his desperate tackle on Gagai, Josh Addo-Carr then scored one of his own in the 25th. The match then seemed to be turned on its head when Cordner was handed the rare penalty try.
NSW centre Latrell Mitchell scored a soft 50th minute effort but went from hero to villain when his turnover gifted the Maroons field position and centre Will Chambers crossed in the 63rd.
Veteran fullback Billy Slater did his best to spark Queensland after overcoming a hamstring injury that forced him to miss game one while the long awaited Origin debut of Kalyn Ponga showed glimpses of brilliance.
Re-live the night as it happened on Twitter with #ESPN_Origin2
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