The experience and guile of Billy Slater could not inspire Queensland as New South Wales won the State of Origin series with a tense 18-14 win at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
Having lost the opening match of the three-game series 22-12 in Melbourne, the Maroons were quick out of the blocks in front of 82,223 fans.
Dane Gagai had an eighth-minute try disallowed when his knee was adjudged to have touched the sideline before he planted the ball over the line.
But Valentine Holmes erased the disappointment within five minutes as he dived over in the corner to open the scoring.
Maroons winger Gagai doubled the lead in the 20th minute, when Slater created a two-on-one scenario that enabled an overlap and allowed Gagai to power past Josh Addo-Carr.
In one of its first chances, Addo-Carr gave NSW some hope with his magical footwork to power over the tryline in the 27th minute.
James Maloney then converted to reduce the margin to 10-6.
Within minutes NSW was awarded a penalty try when Boyd Cordner was obstructed by Ben Hunt from chasing a Maloney grubber kick.
Maloney converted from in front of the posts to hand NSW a 12-10 lead at half-time.
It was only the second penalty try awarded in Origin history after Mal Meninga in 1981.
In the 50th minute, James Tedesco bundled over for NSW’s third try after repeat sets of six in the Maroons 22.
Maloney duly converted from the sideline to establish an eight-point lead.
A mistake from NSW in the 62nd minute ended in Will Chambers capitalising to allow the Maroons to draw closer at 18-14.
A 69th-minute sin-binning of James Roberts turned the game in the Maroons favour, forcing NSW to compete for the last 10 minutes with 12 players.
But the Blues managed to hang on, helped in part by Queensland’s wastefulness in attack.