With NSW's season already over, it was meant to be all about Sheffield Shield leaders Queensland and their push to lock up a home final when the two sides met on Wednesday in Wollongong.
Blues fast bowler Trent Copeland, however, clearly had other ideas on his 32nd birthday.
The former Test paceman continued a habit of taking top-order wickets, with Queensland dismissed for just 243.
Only a well-compiled 97 from opener Joe Burns helped Queensland to avoid disaster in the final-round fixture.
Copeland bowled unchanged throughout the morning session, eventually finishing with 5-74 from 29 overs.
NSW, in their first match since veteran batsman Ed Cowan's retirement, survived a tricky final hour to reach 41 without loss at the close.
Queensland already have one hand on a home Shield final, but defeat would open up the slim possibility of being overhauled by Tasmania or Victoria.
Undefeated in the four matches since the Shield's mid-season resumption, Queensland face a significant challenge at North Dalton Park over the next three days.
"The wicket generally gets better here as the match goes on so it was a good toss to win, and we were able to make the most of the bowling conditions today," said Copeland.
"We have had a great start, and now we need to build some momentum. The wicket actually got better today as the day went on."
Copeland's haul on day one took him to 30 wickets for the season at an average of 25.63.
"My attributes suit these kind of conditions with some overhead clouds. The wicket leant itself to a bit of seam," Copeland said.
"I pride myself on a bit of control, even if I'm trying to swing the ball each way, so today was my day with things coming off."
Queensland would have been thankful for the return of Burns after a two-month absence with a groin injury.
The experienced batsman anchored the innings as wickets fell at regular intervals.
Aside from Burns, fast bowler Michael Neser (55) was the only other Queensland batsman to pass 20.
There was a rare failure for in-form Matthew Renshaw, who was bowled by Copeland for eight, having scored centuries in his past three matches.