James Tedesco fires NSW to thrilling win in Origin decider

NSW killed off their decider hoodoo after rising from the canvas on Wednesday night to seal a State of Origin series win for the ages.

In the lead-up, much was made of Queensland's ability to land the killer blow when a series was on the line.

But the Blues won back-to-back series for the first time since 2005 after James Tedesco crossed for one of the great Origin tries with just 32 seconds on the clock in Game III, the four-pointer seeing NSW to a famous 26-20 win at ANZ Stadium.

Since Origin's inception 39 years ago, Queensland had won 13 deciders - including the last seven straight - with NSW victorious in only four.

Even in NSW, the Maroons held a 4-2 record with another series drawn. But the Blues finally shed their reputation of wilting when the pressure was on.

Mitchell Pearce lofted a floating cut-out ball for Tom Trbojevic before Blake Ferguson tip-toed down the sideline and passed inside Tedesco, the fullback stepping back out towards the touchline and sprinting to the corner to beat the tackle attempt of Dane Gagai.

NSW led 20-8 with 20 minutes remaining but it looked like a decider would once again go to script for the Maroons as they charged back into the contest with tries to Josh McGuire and Josh Papalii to even the score at 20-20.

But just when the game looked headed for golden point, the much-maligned Pearce came to the fore and Tedesco sealed his place in Blues' folklore, and the Wally Lewis Medal.

It is Pearce's first series win over Queensland in eight attempts.

The extraordinary last-gasp play is certain to rival the famous Mark Coyne miracle try in game two of Queensland's triumphant 1995 series.

"If he [Pearce] doesn't throw the ball out there and he doesn't spot the space, we're going into extra time," NSW coach Brad Fittler said. "They were going better than us."

Tedesco was immense in crossing for two tries and running for 222 metres. He also made four line breaks and broke 10 tackles.

With the Maroons farewelling the likes of Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Greg Inglis and Billy Slater in recent years, for the first time in a long time, the Blues can lay claim to having the world's best player.

Unlike game two, the Maroons' forwards were not overawed and held their own against the Blues. Papalii was immense in his two stints and stood up to Blues opposite David Klemmer (115m, 21 tackles).

Unfortunately for NRL head of football Graham Annesley, referees Gerard Sutton and Ashley Klein will once again find themselves in the spotlight for blowing 12 first-half penalties.

The pair were panned by both sides, however only blew their whistle twice in the second-half.

"The referees are interfering with the game too much tonight," former Blues coach Phil Gould said on the Nine Network coverage. Former Maroons coach Paul Vautin agreed, adding: "They're going to ruin the game if they keep it up."

The stop-start game favoured the Maroons but once the game was allowed to flow, the likes of Tedesco and Damien Cook put their stamp on the contest.

Maroons coach Kevin Walters was proud of his team's fightback. But he rued a missed opportunity for skipper Daly Cherry-Evans to kick a field goal in the waning minutes, before opting to put up a bomb.

"He was set to do it, I could see body language," Walters said. "But then we got the slow play-the-ball for some reason. No penalty given, which I haven't watched it too much. He just ran out of time.

"And when you do go for a field goal at that stage and you miss, you give seven tackles and you open yourself up for the opposition to get down your end.

"I'm not going to be critical of anyone tonight. "I'm sitting here as a pretty proud Queenslander."