Maroons 16 Blues 12
Queensland champion Darren Lockyer celebrated his record-equalling State of Origin appearance by laying on the match-winning try as the Maroons downed a gallant New South Wales in Brisbane last night.
With the Blues ahead 12-10, Lockyer responded six minutes before time with a superb inside ball for a flying Billy Slater to snatch the game back for the home side.
The 34-year-old maestro, who joined Maroons great Allan Langer on 34 Origin games, had mercilessly teased the Blues with his kicking game before icing the cake with eight minutes to go.
"We thought we were pretty composed, but we had about ten minutes where we lapsed and they got a couple of tries - but it was a great effort to come back," Lockyer said.
Queensland showed yet again they are never beaten in a pulsating Origin encounter that ended with a traditional punch-up started by Corey Parker and Greg Bird.
The Maroons made a quick start when Johnathan Thurston crossed five minutes after the start.
But the Blues held on until Jharal Yow Yeh crossed to give Queensland a 10-0 halftime lead.
Coach Ricky Stuart's new era in charge looked to have begun after a courageous NSW side repelled blistering starts from the Maroons in both halves, and the Blues scored twice in four minutes to be in front 12-10 in the 69th minute.
As well as scoring his opening try, Thurston booted two from four. One of his misses was a penalty goal attempt which hit the upright.
The Blues' tryscorers were Mitchell Pearce and Michael Jennings, and Jamie Soward kicked two from two.
"To hit the front with ten minutes to go was tremendous but you just can't knock off for half a second and that's what happens," said NSW captain Paul Gallen.
Asked what he'd got out of the defeat the Cronulla enforcer was clear.
"We ve got to control our ground a bit more," he said. "They were all over us and I thought the referee let them get away with a bit ...
"Their kicking game was better than ours - I don't know how many dropouts they had, but I don't think we had one."