A late Josh Dugan try has given NSW a controversial come-from-behind 26-18 win in State of Origin II on Wednesday night before a record MCG crowd of 91,513.
On the back of a dominant Blues performance up front NSW atoned for their narrow game one loss to send the series to a decider in Brisbane next month.
After lamely giving up a first half lead early after the break a 70th minute Dugan try handed the Blues the win, no-try rulings against Mitchell Pearce and Greg Inglis before that sure to be major talking points.
With the Maroons leading 18-14 Pearce loped over next to the posts in the 65th minute but referee Ben Cummins ruled the final pass from Trent Hodkinson forward.
Just minutes later Inglis was denied by the video referee after racing 80m untouched, but Michael Morgan was ruled to have knocked on in the lead-up.
After NSW led 14-10 at the break, Queensland went ahead for the first time in the match shortly after halftime when Matt Gillett worked his way through some soft Blues defence on the line.
Thurston converted for the Maroons to lead 16-14 in the 49th minute, before landing a 57th minute penalty goal to push that lead to four points.
An Aaron Woods try put NSW ahead 20-18 in the 63rd minute.
With the game on the line it was left to Dugan to be the Blues’ hero.
Shortly after being hit in a suspect tackle, the Blues fullback burst through the Queensland line to score. Hodkinson converted for the final score of 26-18.
NSW dominated right from the get go, opening the scoring in the fourth minute before the Maroons had even touched the ball.
Man of the match Michael Jennings stepped his way over for the try and Trent Hodkinson converted.
But Queensland struck back when a string of clever passes close to the line put Matt Scott over in the 11th minute and Johnathan Thurston’s conversion tied up the scores.
The Blues grabbed back the lead in the 26th minute when Josh Morris latched onto a Mitchell Pearce cross-kick, the video referee agreeing with the onfield decision. Hodkinson’s conversion again pushed NSW out to a 12-6 lead.
After threatening all half Greg Inglis then opened his account, crossing for the Maroons’ second try in the 33rd minute after a scintillating 60m movement.
Thurston failed to convert before a late Hodkinson penalty goal that gave the Blues a 14-10 halftime lead.