State of Origin III: Five key points
The key talking points from a remarkable Origin decider which saw Queensland dominate proceedings 52-6 in front of a packed Suncorp Stadium.
Champions respond the way champions do
Led by a forward display that was as energetic as it was irrepressible, the champion Maroons team of the past decade proved that their time is not yet over with a near flawless 80 minutes of football that left the Blues shell-shocked and will hold firm in the annals as one of the greatest single displays by a team in rugby league history.
Matt Scott set the tone from the kick-off and every forward who took the field charged into the Blues defence with no regard for self preservation. Corey Parker had run for 85m by half-time, Jacob Lillyman ran like a 19-year-old and Josh Papalii pounded into his work like he never wanted to be dropped from this team again.
On the back of their work the likes of Smith, Cronk, Thurston and Inglis pulled the attacking strings that delivered eight tries and sent the Suncorp crowd into a frenzy. After a poor first set they completed the next 20 off 22 and barely gave the Blues a look at their half of the field for the entire 80 miuntes, their only try a breakaway from halfway by Michael Jennings. Even those wearing blue will hopefully one day appreciate the greatness of what they witnessed.
Records were made to be broken
The most hyped game in Origin history lived up to expectations for fans of just one state as the Maroons broke records left, right and centre. Aidan Guerra's try in the 77th minute and the subsequent conversion from Justin Hodges put the Maroons 46 points in front, obliterating the three 30-point victories in 1999, 2003 and 2008 and edging the 40-point humiliation the Blues inflicted in 2000, the previous largest winning margin Origin history.
The Maroons eclipsed the 43 points that was their highest score in an Origin game (Game Three, 1983) and they did it all in front of a new Suncorp Stadium record crowd of 52,500 people who will never forget they were there the night it all happened.
Individually, Johnathan Thurston's 18 points from nine goals equalled Lote Tuqiri's Queensland record for most points in a single game.
Inglis auditions as Billy's full-time replacement
Try taking the No.1 Queensland jersey off Greg Inglis now.
From his opening kick return the greatest try-scorer in Origin history sent Ryan Hoffman sprawling as he got his side's set started on the 30 metre line and, after his quick play-the-ball, saw Queensland awarded a penalty from the next play. He terrorised the Blues every time he popped up in the middle of the field and his dismissal of Mitchell Pearce with that ferocious right-arm fend to score the 17th Origin try of his career was a statement of supremacy few can ever hope to match.
'The Cauldron' can do funny things
With an atmosphere unlike any other rugby league ground in Australia, the Blues can say they enjoy playing at Suncorp Stadium but their reaction indicated the moment got the better of them.
After basically creating their own pre-game entertainment around Billy Moore's 'Queenslander' shout to all corners of 'The Cauldron', the noise for a Blues knock-on in the first 15 minutes was like a championship celebration at any other ground anywhere in the world.
Every time the Blues tried to arrest the wave of Maroon momentum the fans were there to inspire another big charge from their forwards and as the pressure mounted careless errors entered the equation.
Beau Scott dumped Cameron Smith on his back after the Queensland skipper had kicked down-field, his brain explosion handing the Maroons a gift two points rather than the seven-tackle set his team would have received.
Then the two Trents, Merrin and Hodkinson, got Corey Parker in a position from where no good could come and the home side further piled on the pressure and the points.
And if they thought it was going to get any easier in the second half, David Klemmer knocked on from the second tackle and they responded with six more points. Brutal.
It didn't end there, but the contest well and truly had.
There was some pushing and shoving to come, James Tamou found himself on report and Johnathan Thurston easily won whatever banter he and Mitchell Pearce were engaging in.
"When you don't feel in control you can lose your way at times," said Blues coach Laurie Daley.
"We never expected that. I don't think anyone expects to have 50 put on you in Origin."
Where to now for Blues?
The complete demolition exhibited by the Maroons now raises the serious question as to whether last year's series win by the Blues was a mere aberration or whether Laurie Daley has the building blocks for a team capable of bouncing back.
The performance of Queensland was so magnificent and the result so lop-sided that perhaps few conclusions can be drawn in the immediate aftermath but there are few players guaranteed their position for Game One next year.
David Klemmer and Aaron Woods are the obvious choices for future front-rowers and careers won't be discarded on the back of one bad night, but the NSW 'Blues-print' will receive a significant going over after such a demoralising loss.