However, not everything went their way. The Maroons were ambushed in the opening 20 minutes by a fast and skilful NSW team who came out of the blocks firing, led by the go forward of James Tamou and Paul Gallen.
But a stint in the sin bin for Michael Jennings, the result of a wild swinging arm at the head of Brent Tate, meant the Maroons could take a breath and it was not long before they clawed their way back into the contest through a well-constructed Darius Boyd try.
The Maroons backline, the best in the business, showed what they can do with a bit of time and space and Boyd had another try on the stroke of halftime to push the lead to 12-4 at the break. Billy Slater, having an off night under the high ball, soon coughed one up after the break and bad boy Jennings was there to pounce to put NSW back in the contest. The second half turned into a war of attrition with both sides giving very little until Slater somewhat redeemed himself by palming a Cooper Cronk high ball back to the waiting Greg Inglis to place the ball down, after Robbie Farah had kicked it from his grasp, and become the greatest State of Origin try scorer of all time.
The Inglis try is sure to remain a talking point but in the end it didn't really matter as the record books will show Queensland held on to win by 8 points, 18-10. NSW will take some heart from the contest with their big and mobile forwards gaining lots of metres through the middle and their outside backs proving a handful. Todd Carney resembled a rabbit in the headlights for his debut and failed to scale the heights predicted.
Of concern for the Blues is that their only two tries came from Queensland mistakes under the highball. Billy Slater and Darius Boyd will make sure that doesn't happen again in Sydney so the Blues are going to have to find another way through the wall of Maroon jumpers. The Queenslanders have some work to do as well, caught on their heels a number of times and coach Mal Meninga is sure to address their line speed for the return bout in Sydney.
It was a pulsating encounter between two teams that desperately wanted to win but in the end it was the class and resolute defence of the Maroons that got them over the line. This Maroons team just know how to win, even when the going is tough, and that is the sign of a champion team.
Meanwhile, Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has continued his policy of placing cotton wool around his Origin stars, resting captain Sam Thaiday, Ben Hannant, Justin Hodges and Petero Civoniceva for tonight's crunch game against competition leaders, Melbourne Storm who have their big three (Smith, Cronk and Slater) backing up. Both teams will be hoping to bounce back into the winner's circle after close losses in round 10.
Young back rower Matt Gillett will be the only Bronco to back up, after being named to partner Jack Reed in the centres while the explosive David Hala and Mitchell Dodds will get their first start for 2012. Griffin's controversial policy almost paid the ultimate dividends last year with a fresh Broncos outfit storming into the finals only to be derailed by Gerard Beale's knee and the eventual premiers Manly Sea Eagles.
Adam Schoenmaker is a high school chaplain in the northern suburbs of Brisbane for three days each week and serves two days a week in his local church. Adam loves a good book, a classic album and all Queensland sporting teams.
Adam Schoenmaker archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/adam-schoenmaker.html