State of Origin: Queensland dominate New South Wales to claim series win
It was supposed to be the end of an era.
But Queensland's dominance does not look like ending soon after their 22-6 win over NSW at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night clinched their 11th series triumph in 12 years.
Winger Valentine Holmes nabbed a hat-trick in just his second Origin while man- of-the-match Cameron Smith again turned back the clock to extend the team's dynasty in front of a record 52,540-strong crowd.
The decider was billed as a changing of the guard for the Maroons with champion five-eighth Johnathan Thurston receiving a pre-match tribute.
His 37-game Origin career was ended because of a shoulder injury in Queensland's dramatic game two win.
And it may also be the final game for fellow Maroons greats Billy Slater and halfback Cooper Cronk who are yet to decide whether to play on in 2018.
However, Queensland officially began life after Thurston by breaking NSW hearts and clinching their 13th Origin decider - and seventh straight.
It marks the first time since 1987 the Maroons have clinched a series with two games in Queensland after losing the opener.
Debutant Cameron Munster was outstanding, stepping into the big shoes left behind by Thurston at No 6.
In just his second Origin, Holmes became the fifth Queensland player to nab a record equalling hat-trick.
But it was the Maroons' established stars led by evergreen hooker Smith who sparked the hosts.
Slater showed no sign of an ankle complaint that hampered his lead-up to be a constant threat, Smith tore NSW apart with his first-half dummy-half runs while Cronk's highlight was a pin-point crossfield kick that delivered Holmes' second try.
Queensland winger Dane Gagai received the Wally Lewis Medal as player of the series.
For NSW, maligned halfback Mitchell Pearce failed to improve his woeful Origin record.
Pearce's career Origin series tally slumped to 0-7.
The Maroons were at their most vulnerable this year, missing Thurston for two games and going through 26 players for the series due to injuries - the most used by Queensland.
They used eight debutants in the series.
But Queensland still maintained their dominance to ensure Kevin Walters is just the third Maroons coach to win his first two series.
Munster's addition ensured Queensland won the series for the first time using three different halves combinations.
NSW had backed themselves to seal their second series win in 12 years after earning first blood in Brisbane and keeping the same 17 for the entire series for the first time since 1996.
Queensland 22 (Valentine Holmes 3, Jarrod Wallace tries; Cameron Smith 3 goals) New South Wales 6 (Josh Dugan try; James Maloney goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Gerard Sutton. Crowd: 52,540
Game 1: NSW 28 bt QLD 4
Game 2: QLD 18 bt NSW 16
Game 3: QLD 22 bt NSW 6
Series: Queensland win series 2-1