Inspiration may have been provided by Boyd Cordner but NSW paid tribute to his successor James Tedesco for finally announcing himself as Blues skipper after their emphatic State of Origin series clinching win in Brisbane.
Ex-captain Cordner was forced to retire recently due to concussion concerns but was still ever present for the Blues at Sunday's Origin II clash at Suncorp Stadium with players donning his No.11 on their jerseys as he watched on from the coach's box.
And NSW players' thoughts quickly turned to Cordner after clinching their third series win in four years with the runaway 26-0 victory.
"It was massive to have Boyd in camp. He put his body on the line for this game and this jersey as well," Blues hooker Damien Cook said.
"Everyone had his number on our jersey stitched on the front. We were playing for Boyd.
"After the courage he had shown in this jersey everyone had to take a leaf out of his book and do the same tonight, this is a big series win for Boydy."
Blues turn attention to emulating 2000 side
However their attention soon switched to the man who stepped up to fill Cordner's big shoes after Origin I last year – Tedesco.
And no wonder – Tedesco was inspirational, running 234 metres with 10 tackle breaks and two try assists.
After just four games in charge, Tedesco has earned the honour of raising the Origin shield as captain after being denied by a Queensland upset last year.
Cook said after being the yardstick for fullbacks for so long, Tedesco had shown in Origin II that he had now taken the step up as a leader for the Blues.
"Teddy has been outstanding taking on the role, he has been a great leader in camp," Cook said.
"He sets the level of professionalism. On the field he leads from the front, he takes those tough carries, he supports the ball, does all the extra things no one notices.
"He never takes a backward step and that is what you want from a leader."
Blues playmaker Jarome Luai agreed Tedesco's leadership credentials had come to the fore this series.
"Definitely. He is one of those guys that when he opens his mouth everyone shuts up and listens," Luai said.
"He definitely backs it up the way he performs. It's his leadership [that makes difference]."
Star centre Latrell Mitchell sparked the Blues in the first half with brutal defence and an 85m intercept try but said he believed Tedesco was the star of the NSW rout after revelling in the captaincy on Sunday night.
"Teddy is an unbelievable workhorse. You see his work ethic in the game, the way he takes on games," Mitchell said.
"Taking on that leadership has taken him to another level. He does it at club level, I have seen it.
"But to see him bring it out on the biggest stage of rugby league is great to see."
Fittler brimming with pride over historic defensive effort
Tedesco deflected praise to his all-star team before dipping his hat to Cordner's influence.
The Blues back five ran for a combined 928 metres in Origin I in Townsville and the likes of Mitchell, Brian To'o, Tom Trbojevic and Josh Addo-Carr were again the stars as they produced another heroic effort of 897 metres.
Addo-Carr bagged a double while centres Trbojevic and Mitchell also scored as the Blues held the Maroons scoreless with their desperate defence.
"It’s pretty special just to be a part of it," Tedesco said.
"But to be captain … we've had Boyd in camp this week and I've obviously learnt a lot off him over the past few years at Roosters, club and state level.
"The leadership he's shown, I've learnt a lot off him and I know he would've loved to be part of this as well.
"The talent of this team is unbelievable and to be captain is pretty cool."
A Tedesco flick has Addo-Carr scoring his second
While Tedesco may be shining as captain, Blues coach Brad Fittler believes his prized No.1 was also breaking the mould for fullbacks.
"No one else plays like Teddy at the moment," Fittler said.
"He's just making his own path and own way. I think we've come out of an era where everyone played a lot like Billy [Slater]. He was an incredible player, Billy.
"Teddy's just doing it a little bit different and I like watching it. It's great.
"And tonight, to be able to do it under pressure in big games, making big plays – that's why he's our captain."