NSW are State of Origin champions for the first time since 2014 after a nerve-jangling, series-sealing 18-14 triumph against Queensland at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
Combined with their 22-12 win at the MCG in game one, Sunday’s result means the Blues will now head to Suncorp Stadium on July 11 chasing a rare clean sweep.
NSW may have clinched the trophy, but Queensland debutant Kalyn Ponga showed enough to suggest he will be around for many years to come at interstate level.
The 20-year-old Knights fullback, who came off the bench in the 27th minute, was deployed in a completely foreign role, defending near the middle of the ruck.
He rolled up his sleeves to produce 26 textbook tackles around the legs, some classy ball-playing touches and a scintillating line break in the 69th minute.
The Maroons raced to a 10-0 lead but NSW fought back to hold a 12-10 advantage by half-time.
Queensland wingers Valentine Holmes and Dane Gagai both scored in the opening 20 minutes, before NSW replied when speedster Josh Addo-Carr beat three defenders to dive over.
Five minutes later, the Blues hit the front in unusual circumstances when they were awarded a penalty try after Ben Hunt impeded Boyd Cordner as he chased a James Maloney grubber kick.
It was only the second penalty try in Origin history, and first since 1981.
In the 50th minute, the Blues grabbed an eight-point buffer when centre Latrell Mitchell crashed over and Maloney converted from near touch.
A Will Chambers try in the 63rd minute ensured the game would go down to the wire, especially when Blues centre James Roberts was sin-binned in the 69th minute for a professional foul.
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