Trent Hodkinson scores the series-winning try for New South Wales, running the ball closer to the posts to aid his conversion attempt. Credit: Grant Trouville. Copyright: NRL Photos.
Two months. That's how long it took for unassuming halfback Trent Hodkinson to do what no other No. 7 could do for the Blues over eight years.
"For myself, it was only my first series in being involved, [but] I still felt the pain of the boys over the past eight years," he said.
"We knew we just had to work hard for each other and something like this would come, and it did."
The 25-year-old halfback who has been to rugby league hell and back put the entire state on his shoulders last night and carried them over the line for the only try and conversion of the game.
One try, one goal, six points. One series in a row.
Not bad for a bloke who wasn't even on the Origin radar in April.
"That's what happens in Origin. You gotta role with the punches sometimes," said Blues coach Laurie Daley.
"You don't get too many opportunities to play Origin. He grabbed his opportunity and that's what it's all about. He just brought a lot of composure and calmness to our team."
Talk about the understatement of the year.
With the clock ticking down on New South Wales' best shot at ending their drought and his teammates going more sideways that the equator, the coolest bloke in Blue since Sam Worthington took it upon himself to put an end to this madness.
"We were all over the shop, we were going sideways and we just needed to calm it down and fall back to our process," Hodkinson said.
And so in the 73rd minute, having gone five sets on the Queensland line with nothing to show but a few more battle scars, the player they call Mr Cool, dummied, straightened up, and crossed for the game-and-series-winning four-pointer.
"We just had to go back to our processes and what we've worked hard on all week," he said. "I thought we were going sideways a bit too much for a big part of the game and I knew we just had to do what our forwards do best and go forward, set the platform and luckily enough, we got a try towards the end."
That levelled the scores at 4-all, leaving him with an awkward conversion about 15 metres in from touch to take the lead.
"It was a bit wider than what I thought actually. I was walking back and the ref put me a bit wider. I thought it was a lot closer," he said.
"But I worked hard during the week. I wasn't happy with my conversions in Game One so I did a lot of practice during the week. Took a deep breath and kicked it, and it went over."
His partner-in-crime, Josh Reynolds, who saved a crucial try on the stroke of halftime, hopes the breakthrough win can forge a long career at what many deem as the highest level in the game.
"[For] him to do that, and for us to create such a friendship that will never forget, a combination that we're going to go on for years and years, it's a pretty special moment," he said.