They were pummelled in game one but Queensland’s renovated pack has laid the platform for another era of State of Origin supremacy.
Led by rookie props Dylan Napa and Jarrod Wallace, the Maroons easily won the battle of the forwards in Wednesday night’s 22-6 victory over NSW.
All the talk heading into the series decider was that the Blues, led by chief destroyer Andrew Fifita, were supposed to have the clear advantage up the middle.
But that was never going to fly with Queensland’s new generation of brutes, who muzzled their star-studded opponents by simply working harder for longer.
“It’s no secret that we had a bit of a slow start to the series through the middle,” Napa said.
“I remember being here after game one and the feeling.
“We fixed it up.
“We went to Sydney, got a win there so we could push it to a decider in Brisbane. It worked perfect.”
Maroons coach Kevin Walters made wholesale changes up front after their limp Origin I defeat, dumping stalwarts Sam Thaiday, Nate Myles, Aidan Guerra and Jacob Lillyman in pursuit of fresh blood.
Not that their replacements inspired much confidence – most armchair punters had to hit up Wikipedia to figure out who Tim Glasby was, and even Coen Hess admitted he didn’t think he was ready for a rep call-up.
Matt Scott (knee) also didn’t play a minute of the series while Queensland were also without retired great Corey Parker for the first time.
All up, it was Queensland’s most inexperienced pack in 20 years.
“We had to introduce some younger players with a lot of energy,” Walters said.
“That was the key there. We were just out enthused there in game one.
“They really dominated us and you can’t win at this level without strong defence.”
Napa said he hadn’t given much thought to what the new, youthful Maroons pack might be capable of in the years to come.
“Every bit of experience is going to help in the future but right now I’m just enjoying the win with all the boys,” he said.
Bench weapon Hess, meanwhile, was too busy pinching himself.
“It’s pretty crazy how fast everything has come. I was playing Queensland Cup last year and now I have won an Origin series,” he said.
“It is pretty mind blowing.”