Monday Morning Halfback: Queensland dominance
Can Queensland be beaten?
That's the enormous question that NSW players need to answer on Wednesday night.
It is the same question that faced English cricket players for the best part of two decades when facing Australia between 1989-2005.
Australia's golden era cruelled many English careers in the 1990s, constantly defined and judged solely on what they achieved in the Ashes arena, many players were simply never the same again.
The similarities between that period in Ashes history and the current Holden State of Origin landscape could not be more alike.
England were given a good chance of success at the start of every new series until the likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne played chief destroyers and tormented English players and fans.
Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston have likewise been leading one of the great sporting dynasties and tormenting any sky blue jumper that stood in front of them.
When Australia finally lost the Ashes after years of total domination – thanks in part to an unfortunate injury to Glenn McGrath - they responded with vigour to claim the next series in a 5-0 whitewash as some of the biggest names in the game's history called time on their illustrious careers.
Queensland did it in equally emphatic fashion - after losing Cooper Cronk to injury in their only losing series in a decade - romping to a record-breaking 52-6 series-clinching Game Three to dispel the "Dad's army" references and put an emphatic exclamation point on their success.
The truth is that this Queensland team has been one of the greatest ever assembled.
How do you beat a team that has so many era defining players? Like England, NSW has found it an incredibly hard question to answer.
The Maroons have only been beaten consecutively twice in the last decade. It is great reading if you are a Maroons fan, but the stuff of nightmares for those south of the Tweed.
It is an embarrassment of riches to lose Darren Lockyer and be able to replace him with Cooper Cronk.
And then there is Thurston – one of, if not the, greatest players of all time – who has not missed an Origin match since his debut. He's played 34 consecutive matches for Queensland since arriving on the scene in 2005.
Thurston is the maestro that can do things on the field that are at times unfathomable. His competitive nature knows no bounds. Smith is the metronomic heartbeat of the Maroons in attack and defence. Much like McGrath, Smith works away relentlessly and picks at every deficiency.
Can Queensland be beaten?
Yes, but it is going to take some doing. Every era comes to an end, but the Maroons won't let their dominance fade gently into the night. If NSW want to win, they'll need to wretch it from Queensland.
They'll need to be a lot more daring than in Game One and they'll have to take every opportunity.
There were enough signs in Game One that this NSW team could be on to something, but ultimately they fell short.
There is no tougher assignment than beating Queensland at Suncorp Stadium, the Maroons have outscored the Blues 269-122 in the past 10 State of Origin clashes at the venue, with NSW scoring eight points or less in five of those matches.
Do NSW believe they can win? We'll soon find out.