NSW show the kind of form to finally reclaim the prestigious prize.
The rules might say a game of State of Origin goes for 80 minutes, the same as any NRL club game.
But for the players in the middle of the colosseum it would feel at least twice that long, such is the increased pace and physicality despite all of the players coming from the toughest rugby league competition in the world.
Which is why the New South Wales’ effort to win game one of the 2013 series against Queensland was so impressive.
The reason why the Blues outplayed their opponents was all about what they did, rather than what the Maroons did not do.
For at least 70 minutes of the game, the home side controlled the tempo and pace of the game, something that is vital in the pressure-cooker environment that is Origin.
Apart from a few small mistakes, the Blues were close to perfect, and when the Maroons threatened they were able to scramble well in defence and keep them scoreless until well into the second half.
It is that kind of intensity that could see them claim a famous series win in Origin history as they look to end Queensland’s unprecedented dominance over the past seven years.
However, a Queensland side filled with so many modern greats of the game will inevitably hit back, something the Blues are well-aware of if their comments after the game are anything to go by.
“We know how important the first is historically, we did not want to let ourselves or the fans down,” NSW skipper Paul Gallen said.
“We have a lot of pride and passion and (coach) Laurie Daley brought that to the camp, we trained well when we had to, but the preparation was generally pretty relaxed.”
However, the Cronulla captain could have a case to answer relating to an incident just before half-time, when a swinging-arm tackle on Nate Myles sparked a ward of words, before Gallen hit the Maroons forward twice on the jaw
“He’s been the dominant forward in Origin for the last few years so somebody had to stand up to him,” Gallen said of the incident.
When addressed by the referee after tempers had calmed down, Gallen said Myles’ niggling tactics, not just in the game but in recent series, had caused him to lash out.
However, it remains to be seen if the match review panel will buy Gallen’s excuses.
The good signs kept coming for Blues’ fans as even debutantes spouted the party line, that being, there is still plenty of work to do, especially with game two being in the heart of enemy territory at Suncorp Stadium.
“How’s good this, you dream of this and it was everything and better,” Maloney said in the aftermath.
“Our forwards did a massive job and they laid the platform and we worked off the back of that, but we can improve on that, but it’s the first game and there’s still two more (games) to go.”
Queensland veteran Sam Thaiday had no excuses for his side’s loss, saying simply they were outworked by the Blues.
“We we were out-enthused at the start we and we couldn’t stay with them,” Thaiday said.
“They got those early points and we spent the rest of the game chasing them.”