Queensland fullback Billy Slater has revealed he experienced the toughest minutes of his rugby league career as the Maroons withstood a furious late onslaught from NSW to extend their remarkable Origin series streak over the Blues.
Five-eighth Johnathan Thurston, who scored all but four of Queensland's points in their 12-10 win, said the Maroons went into robot mode to deny NSW.
NSW got within two points of the Maroons in Wednesday's series decider at ANZ Stadium after James Maloney converted a Trent Merrin try to set up a grandstand finish in front of more than 83,000 spectators.
The Blues strove mightily in the closing minutes to end seven years of Origin heartache, but even with a try to Maroons prop Matt Scott rubbed out following the intervention of a male streaker, they couldn't breach the stout Queensland defence again.
"That last ten minutes, from the nine-minute mark when they scored that try to the five-minute mark when we got the penalty, is probably the toughest four minutes of any football that I've played,'' Slater said.
Thurston said Queensland knew what they had to do after Merrin and Maloney galvanised the home crowd.
"Every time our backs are against the wall, it's like we go into robot mode and we know what we need to do to dig ourselves out of it,'' Thurston said.
Queensland forward Sam Thaiday isn't sure how year after year Queensland find the desire to beat a hungry NSW.
"I don't know, if I could bottle it I'd be a millionaire,'' Thaiday said.
"But we've just formed such a great bond and have such a great mateship we don't want to let eachother down.''
Thaiday was adamant Origin was alive and well despite Queensland's continued dominance and predicted an even fiercer challenge from the Blues next year.
"Origin is not dead, a lot of people do say that,'' Thaiday said.
"Last year was a tough series but this year was even tougher.
"It took a great effort on our behalf to win that game tonight, to secure the series.
"I know NSW won't go away. They are going to be even more hungry next year.
"They will find some more great talent that they can pick in their side and our job is going to be even tougher again.''