A courageous video referee decision and Michael Jennings' moment of madness have served to continue State of Origin's longest dynasty as Queensland beat NSW 18-10 in Wednesday night's series opener.
The Maroons are one win away from a stunning seventh straight series win, with a Darius Boyd double and a controversial Greg Inglis try seven minutes from time proving the difference at Etihad Stadium.
Queensland were clinging to a 12-10 lead when Inglis was awarded a try by man in the box Sean Hampstead - who ruled NSW hooker Robbie Farah had kicked the ball from his grasp before the Maroons' centre regathered to score an Origin record 13th try.
Blues' skipper Paul Gallen - who had a running battle with the referees all night - expressed his bemusement as the Maroons pulled out by more than a converted try.
"How the hell is that a try?" he asked.
"This is ridiculous, where this is getting."
Gallen was referring to the decision, but he might as well have been referring to Queensland Origin dominance - with the Blues staring yet another series defeat in the face.
Boyd's opener came with the Blues reduced to 12 men midway through the first half after Jennings - dropped from his club side Penrith due to alleged attitude issues - unleashed a wild haymaker as he came flying into a scuffle.
"This is your first Origin - it's different you know," Gallen told referee Matt Cecchin as he voiced his disgust at the decision.
Boyd scored his second just before the break, but it didn't take the Blues long to get back into the match with Jennings going some way to making up for his binning when he crossed three minutes after the restart.
NSW made a timid decision to go for a long-range penalty goal to level the scores soon after, but Carney's attempt from the 40-metre line sailed wide.
There was another near miss as a loafing Sam Thaiday just grounded the ball before a flying Brett Stewart, the Blues failing to get close again as the Maroons triumphed.
As was anticipated, NSW came flying out of the blocks before a 56,021 full house, Akuila Uate giving the Blues an early lead after Boyd had spilled a bomb into the back and, eventually, the arms of his opposite winger.
The Maroons were having troubles with the high ball as Billy Slater came up with fresh air to give NSW consecutive sets, Robbie Farah almost taking full toll only to be held up over the line.
The Blues were on top before the momentum dramatically shifted, push and shove between Matt Scott and Greg Bird escalating into an all-in brawl as Mitchell Pearce put one on the chin of Sam Thaiday and Jennings was given a spell in the sheds.
Queensland attacked the short-staffed NSW left-side defence with Jarryd Hayne pushing Brent Tate into touch just before the tryline, but it only delayed what seemed the inevitable as Slater put Boyd over in the opposite corner.NSW were rattled as debutant Todd Carney failed to find touch from a penalty and, even when Jennings returned, the Blues were flagging from the amount of defence they had been exposed to - a poor misread from Uate and precision work from Thurston providing Boyd's second.