Having won the battle, NSW coach Ricky Stuart says the Blues now have to prove they can win the war after Todd Carney stepped up to the plate to set up a State of Origin decider with a 16-12 win on Wednesday night.
The Blues moved one step closer to ending Queensland's record six-year dominance of the interstate classic, Carney providing the spark which changed the course of the game after a forgettable debut in the opening game.
Now Stuart says, the entire team has a chance to change the course of Origin history at Suncorp Stadium, a venue they have not won an series decider since the Laurie Daley-led Blues of 1994.
"These boys have shown they can win an Origin game, now we have to show we can win an Origin series,'' Stuart said.
"We have to prove to ourselves more than anybody else that we can win an Origin series.''
Central to that will be Carney, who was one of many Blues heroes while Robbie Farah came up with a marathon 64 tackles and Greg Bird took out man-of-the-match honours.
With his side given the benefit of a one-man advantage after Cooper Cronk was sin-binned for denying Carney an opportunity to score, the Blues five-eighth hit the go button to change the match irrevocably.
Having just booted a penalty to lock it up at 6-all, Carney brushed through an Ashley Harrison tackle on his own 20-metre line before finding Brett Stewart in support for his second try of the night.
Four minutes later it was 16-6 to the Blues, Jarryd Hayne cleverly kicking the ball ahead after being stripped by Johnathan Thurston to complete a mesmerising spell for the home side.
"You don't get many opportunities in Origin,'' Stuart said.
"Just the pass to Brett Stewart was a tough skill.
"He took the line on a lot more tonight. He found a little bit more of a game about himself tonight.''
"When we saw a wide defender I took him on and I was lucky enough to get through ... it's an unbelievable feeling.''
Just as NSW did in Origin I when Michael Jennings was spelled for ten minutes, the Maroons paid dearly for Cronk's binning, his decision to deny Carney a near certain six points instead becoming 12 by the time he returned.
Queensland captain Cameron Smith conceded Cronk's stint off the field was pivotal.
"We struggled when Cooper got put in the sin-bin,'' he said.
"They scored two tries and we couldn't recover.
While also admitting playing one man down cost his side dearly, Maroons coach Mal Meninga refused to criticise his No.7.
"I said to him 'you did it for the team, you had to do it','' said Meninga, who may need to find a new fullback for Origin III after Billy Slater suffered a suspected posterior cruciate ligament tear.
"I've got no criticism of Coops.''
Cronk did his best to make amends with a brilliant kick-chase on his return which secured a repeat set for the Maroons, and then almost like clockwork, Queensland started their late charge.
Two straight sets were repelled by the Blues but a third was beyond them, Darius Boyd tapping back a Thurston bomb for Greg Inglis to stretch his Origin record tally to 14 tries.
It looked like the Maroons had broken NSW hearts when Brent Tate leapt highest to reel in a bomb in the corner, but Jennings arrived to tap the ball out of his grasp.
The Blues had already had the life punched out of them on the stroke of halftime when Akuila Uate inexplicably allowed a bomb to bounce near his line, Ben Hannant scoring after Stewart's 25th minute opener for the Blues.