STATE OF ORIGIN
NSW interchange forward Trent Merrin summed up the feeling in a jubilant Blues camp with a post-game barb at the Maroons, claiming the series leaders are "over the Queensland myth for the past eight years".
In the most obvious sign yet Laurie Daley's side believe they can halt the Queensland Origin juggernaut, Merrin spoke of a new-found belief in NSW's camp after their boilover on Wednesday night.
NSW withstood a torrent of Queensland pressure in the second half, time and time again turning away a Maroon tide which looked likely to swamp the Blues.
But Merrin said a focused NSW squad were sick of all the Origin talk being about the northerners and were determined to restore parity in 2014.
"We're building a group and everyone is over the whole Queensland myth for the past eight years," he told the Mercury. "Dead-set, everyone is just over it.
"Even when you first come into the squad you're just happy to be there, but we've done that enough now. All the talk has been about them for eight years, but they don't own Origin. No-one owns Origin.
"To come here like we did [on Wednesday night] ... we showed that tough teams always win. There's always been that belief, but I think it's growing with age and maturity now."
Queensland will have to defy a record which has stood for 27 years if they're to somehow extend their dynasty to nine years - and it will definitely be without first-choice halfback Cooper Cronk (broken arm).
Billy Slater (shoulder) is also racing the clock to be fit for the return showdown in Sydney.
Not since 1987 have the Maroons lost the series opener in Brisbane and come back to win the series.
NSW also found themselves one up last year but were blown off the park at Suncorp Stadium and then squandered game three back at home.
"We won game one and thought the job was over," Merrin admitted. "We know now the biggest job in the world is to come up here and beat them at home.
"Taking it to Sydney we've just got to worry about us. That's what we did this game and we know what they're going to do. We've played against them enough now and I think going to Coffs Harbour and getting away from it all was the key to our success."
Merrin was one of the few NSW bodies to escape the Origin carnage relatively unscathed unlike Kiama twins Brett and Josh Morris.