Hayne goes to a place he's never been before
NSW fullback and State of Origin I Man of the Match Jarryd Hayne has lauded the side's amazing 12-8 win as "easily" the greatest team effort in his 18 Origins – while emphasising how the brutal nature of the clash took its toll on everyone out there.
"The way we just hung in there and fought back and just resisted them is something I don't think I've ever been a part of before," Hayne said.
"They had so much ball in that second half. The way we hung in there and dug deep for each other was very special."
He said the side had spoken during the build-up about the fact it was the 100th Origin game, and he said the momentous match that took place gave the occasion what it deserved.
The relentless physicality of the match saw Queenslanders Cooper Cronk (broken arm) and Daly Cherry-Evans (hip) and Blues Brett Morris (dislcoated shoulder), Josh Morris (knee), Trent Hodkinson (nose), Paul Gallen (neck) and Anthony Watmough (bicep), at the very least, either play through considerable pain or leave the field.
"When you get in that place it becomes muscle memory, it doesn't matter what you say to anyone, it's a war out there," Hayne said.
"When you look someone in the eye and they just look straight through you and don't know what's going on, it's just... the mentality is 'just be there'."
Hayne said it took its toll on the players left out there, including himself.
"Individually I went to a place I'd never been before. I remember at the dead ball line I was on my knees and literally couldn't feel my legs. [Team trainer] Ronnie Palmer had to help me get up," he said.
"I think I made it to the 20 metre line, I missed the whole set, I was just gone and I remember just thinking 'keep going, keep going'."
Asked how he is able to produce efforts like that now which he may not have been able to in the past, Hayne said it came down to his growing maturity and becoming more of a leader.
"Everyone needs to bring their 'A' game and bring something to the table. If you're going to be a leader you can't wait for someone else to do it, that's what blokes like me and Gal [captain Paul Gallen], Robbie [Farah] as well [need to do]. I saw Robbie take a hit-up, he's not meant to take hit-ups but he knew the team needed him and he did it for the team."
Hayne said the team hadn't been focused at all on the state's eight-year drought, adding the squad would need to improve further for Game Two.
"They're going to go to another level and we need to match it," he said.