Darren Lockyer says Queensland's Billy Slater-inspired State of Origin III win has provided vital self confidence to the new-look Maroons - and self doubt for NSW.
Maroons great Lockyer was in awe of stand-in skipper Slater after the 35-year-old combined with recalled No.7 Daly Cherry Evans to inspire Queensland's 18-12 victory at Suncorp Stadium.
It denied NSW their first series whitewash since 2000 and was a fitting farewell for Slater in his 31st and final Origin.
Slater not only won man of the match but controversially the Wally Lewis Medal as player of the series despite missing the opener with injury.
Former Queensland captain Lockyer toasted Slater for pulling off a much-needed Maroons win that he believed may play on NSW's minds next year.
"I don't think there is anyone else in the game who can do that, to come back (from injury) and to have the impact on the game that he did at that age," Lockyer told AAP.
"And to get a reward for their effort in this series was key.
"It gives them self belief now going into next year, and maybe puts a bit of doubt in the opposition's mind.
"It was a dead rubber but it still had a big impact on the psyche of both teams."
Slater was a relieved man after delivering what he believed the new-look Maroons needed most before he said goodbye - that winning feeling.
The dead rubber win ensured Queensland savoured victory for the first time as they began life without their Big Three - Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.
"I was disappointed the fellas hadn't had that Origin winning feeling," Slater said.
"I really wanted to deliver that to them because it is important. There were a few guys who hadn't felt it this year.
"They (NSW) earnt their series win this year, we need to learn from that but we needed that win.
"We are in good hands. There is a bright future."
Slater was Queensland captain for the first time in his final game after stepping in for Greg Inglis (broken thumb).
Slater's representative retirement ensures Inglis will be the last man standing from Queensland's 2006 side which sparked their stunning run of 11 series wins in the last 12 years.
But Slater walks away with no regrets, all but anointing Newcastle's Kalyn Ponga as his fullback replacement.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters believed the win would set the Maroons up for the "next two or three years".
Walters' luck this year only seemed to get worse after Smith announced his shock representative retirement weeks before the series.
But Walters now holds no fears for the future thanks to the legacy left by champions like Slater.
"All those great players of the last 12 years have left a great footprint on what to do at this level to be successful," he said.
"We have to learn from that but I think our guys in the shed learnt a lot about Origin just by getting that win."