New South Wales overturned history and prevented Queensland from securing a series clean sweep with an 18-14 game three State of Origin win in Sydney last night.
Despite the record-breaking Maroons having already secured their 10th series win in 11 years, Laurie Daley's reshuffled Blues provided a portent of better times ahead by preventing the visitors from claiming a fifth series white wash and providing retiring captain Paul Gallen with a fitting farewell in front of 61,267 fans at ANZ Stadium.
The Blues hopes looked dashed five minutes from fulltime when Queensland fullback Darius Boyd crossed to give his side a 14-12 lead but the home side hit back in the final minute after a clean break from debutant fullback James Tedesco.
On the next play, a spread to the left saw centre Michael Jennings cut back inside to push through the defence and plant the ball down for a 16-14 lead, leaving it to Gallen to kick the final conversion in the last play of the game.
The result was the home side's first success in Sydney after being two-nil down and their first win on home turf since game two of their 2014 series win.
Daley pulled a game day surprise by installing bench utility and deposed game two fullback Matt Moylan in the six jersey, leaving rookie Jack Bird to fill the utility role off the bench.
The injection of fresh blood saw new No1 Tedesco and back-rower Wade Graham add some spark, but the Maroons were methodical in targeting Moylan who was kept busy on the right edge with wave after wave of big bodies testing his defensive strength.
Two Blues mistakes in the first four minutes did not go unpunished, with a textbook left-side play creating the overlap for centre Greg Inglis to stroll over and extend his Origin try-scoring record to 18 in his 30th appearance in the Maroons jersey.
NSW had their chances to strike back but poor execution and mistakes ruined opportunities for Blake Ferguson, Moylan and Tedesco, before lock Tyson Frizell held on to a Gallen offload to crash over to the right of the sticks with James Maloney's boot adding the extras to make it 6-4 after 24 minutes.
Their advantage could have been greater but poor execution and mistakes prevented NSW from capitalising on a nine-one penalty count, a wealth of attacking ball, and a numerical advantage following the sinbinning of Queensland halfback Cooper Cronk for a professional foul in the 31st minute.
Impact forward Andrew Fifita extended the Blues' advantage to 12-4 early in the second-half, but the Cronulla enforcer cost his side when he was sinbinned for sparking a melee after Queensland debutant Gavin Cooper crossed to help narrow the margin to two in the 52nd minute.
The game hung in the balance until Boyd looked to have provided the match-winning try five minutes from fulltime.
The Blues look certain to endure another 12 months of heartache before Tedesco's break and Jenning's last-ditch effort provided one of the best Origin finishes in recent history.
New South Wales 18 (Tyson Frizell, Andrew Fifita, Michael Jennings tries, James Maloney 2, Paul Gallen cons)
Queensland 14 (Greg Inglis, Gavin Cooper, Darius Boyd tries, Johnathan Thurston 1 cons)