BLUES 12 MAROONS 8
Plane or train - whatever Jarryd Hayne's preferred mode of transport is - NSW rode every inch of it with him to stumble just one stop away from their State of Origin holy grail in a game one heartstopper.
But it came at potentially a huge cost as the Morris twins topped a potentially costly casualty toll as the Blues again inched towards the brink of ending Queensland's Origin dynasty.
Brett Morris played through the pain to finish the match with a dislocated shoulder while Josh couldn't finish with a knee injury.
The news wasn't any better in terms of suspensions with Josh Reynolds and Beau Scott both charged for a dangerous lifting tackle on Queensland winger Brent Tate. Reynolds faces two weeks out with an early guilty plea while Scott won't miss any games with the same plea.
"For the boys to do what they did under those conditions I'm one extremely happy coach," Daley said. "I'm certain the whole state will be happy and I think this win has probably united us more than ever.
"We've got serious injuries and blokes who have battled away and shouldn't have come off in the first half, but they stayed out there because we needed them to. I hope everyone talks about that [on Thursday] because when it's the opposition it's spoken about. It was enormous."
Virtually written off with Queensland expected to set the wheels in motion for a ninth straight series win, it was Hayne who led a dogged Blues to victory at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night. It was a game they had no right to win given the second half onslaught they endured.
And if NSW's No 1 gun can get anywhere near the heights he showed north of the border in the return bout in Sydney, Laurie Daley's men will have halted eight years of torture at the hands of the Maroons.
"He was outstanding, but for us it's about the team," Daley said. "Jarryd's a talented player and talented players ... they wouldn't shine if guys in the middle weren't doing anything."
Queensland were down but not quite out early in the second half, but the second of two Darius Boyd tries whipped a raucous home crowd into a frenzy as they cut the Blues' lead to four.
But time and time again NSW turned away their nemesis in a gripping second half which had all the hallmarks of an Origin classic.
Queensland played almost 70 minutes without injured first-choice halfback Cooper Cronk, but still finished all over a tiring NSW, who copped a flurry of blows but not a killer punch.
Boyd appeared destined for a hat-trick with six minutes left which would have set up a match-winning conversion, but was miraculously denied by former Dragons teammate Brett Morris as the Blues staggered over the line.
It was the first live match they had won at Suncorp Stadium since their 2005 series-sealing win.
"When momentum swings not conceding a lot of points and losing momentum in a short space of time [is the key]," Daley said. "In the past when we've lost momentum we've conceded a couple of tries.
"The performance [Wednesday night] under duress is as good as I've ever been associated with. It was an A-grade performance. They'll be better in Sydney and we'll have to be better than [Wednesday] night."
Queensland also endured a night of drama with Cronk sustaining a broken arm and lasting all of 10 minutes. How did they replace him? With the NRL's in-form halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.
Added coach Mal Meninga: "The effort from both sides was fantastic and the desire from both sides was tremendous," Meninga said.
"We tried hard, but we missed a few opportunities throughout the game to score points, and that's what Origin is all about. It's about taking opportunities when they arise and we didn't quite do that tonight.
"Two tries all, so we live to battle another day."
It didn't bother NSW though, who only need one win from the remaining two games for their first series win since 2005.
"That second half was one of the toughest games I've been involved in," skipper Paul Gallen said. "It's a series, it's three games and we've got to win one more. Whatever 17 we can pick in two weeks time we'll pick and get into camp to build that belief again."
NEW SOUTH WALES 12 (Brett Morris, Jarryd Hayne tries; Trent Hodkinson 2 goals) defeated QUEENSLAND 8 (Darius Boyd 2 tries) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Ben Cummins. Crowd: 52,111.