IT was never, ever going to be that simple.
Sure, the Blues led 20-14 with three minutes left. Sure, after squandering an 8-2 lead and the bulk of first-half momentum, the Maroons looked dead and buried.
But we've all seen this movie before. Ethan Lowe, a late inclusion as a debutant produces one of those Origin plays, a charge-down and regather for Josh Papaali's 76th-minute try.
Lowe, only called in on three days notice as a replacement for the injured Matt Gillett nails the goal to square things up. Here we go again.
It had all the ingredients to classic Queensland comeback story. Only this time, the Blues own hero emerged in the form of No. 1 James Tedesco, who grabbed the match-winner with 30 seconds left and tore up that all-too-familiar script.
It ended in a 26-20 victory and the NSW's first consecutive Origin series win in 14 years. It was the other No. 1 in Cam Munster who was best on ground in the opening stanza while Corey Norman was all class on debut, forcing a repeat set with his first kick of the game and laying on the first try of the match for Felise Kaufusi with his second.
In the end though, Tedesco's 60-metre dash against the run of play proved the key play of the match, opening the door for Paul Vaughan's crucial four-pointer that locked the score at eight apiece at halftime.
It came after James Maloney grabbed the first points with a sixth-minute penalty goal, one of 12 penalties blown in an infuriatingly whistle-happy first half. Lowe also nailed one for an 8-2 lead in the 28th minute.
Tedesco did it all himself 10 minutes after the resumption, barging his way across out wide and allowing Maloney to extend the lead to six off the tee with half an hour to play.
Damien Cook twisted the knife with a solo 40-metre sprint from dummy-half to post the Blues third try next to the posts and take what appeared an unassailable 12-point lead with 19 minutes left.
In the end it barely proved enough, with Josh McGuire crossing with eight minutes left to set up a grand stand finish, but it Tedesco who landed the final blow in a thriller.