In the end, it came down to composure.
Queensland had plenty when it counted and it was champion No.7 Cooper Cronk who landed the telling blow with a field goal six minutes from fulltime to help the Maroons to a thrilling 11-10 win in the State of Origin opener at ANZ Stadium.
NSW tried to hit back with a field goal of their own soon after but panicked.
The ball found its way to fullback Josh Dugan who wasn’t expecting it – he had to reach above his head to catch it – and he missed the shot.
Cronk and halves partner Johnathan Thurston revelled under pressure in the second half, forcing a host of repeat sets as NSW lacked direction and couldn’t get out of their end.
Their NSW counterparts Trent Hodkinson and Mitchell Pearce tried hard but couldn’t get the job done as NSW squandered a 10-6 halftime lead.
Queensland made the most of a scrappy opening to the second half with the Maroons making the hosts pay for several errors, including Hodkinson failing to find touch from a penalty, on 55 minutes with a try through winger Will Chambers.
The Blues did a great job in the first half on the back of props James Tamou and Aaron Woods but lost their way up the middle when the duo left the ground late in the opening stanza.
Queensland’s engine room was outstanding all night with Matthew Scott and Corey Parker paving the way for Thurston and Cronk to conduct play.
NSW fullback Josh Dugan and centre Josh Morris were terrific in a beaten side both in defence and attack but coach Laurie Daley has a big decision to make with his halves, who couldn’t steer the side to victory.
Hodkinson in particular is under pressure to keep his spot for game two in Melbourne at the MCG on June 17.
Pearce probably did enough to retain his spot, setting up a try for Beau Scott in the first half.