FOR mine, the hero emerging from Origin II on Wednesday night was Blues coach Laurie Daley.
He has trampled the idiom that nice people come last.
Sure there were some controversial moments, none more so than the Greg Inglis 'no try' decision 12 minutes from time which would have put the Maroons 24-20 in front.
And Blues' players, officials and fans would be within their rights to suggest the decision is karma from an indisputable refereeing blunder back in 2012 that saw Inglis awarded a try.
While State of Origin has become a perfect instrument to ignite interstate barbs and enrage motions, the cold, hard facts are that after 104 Origin games, a meagre 98 points separates the two teams on the scoreboard.
What makes this contest so engrossing - and so rare - is that over 36 series there is still only a struck match between the two states, and a contentious call may well be the difference between a win and a loss. In those 104 encounters, there have probably been just as many debatable calls.
But possibly the toughest call of all in this series so far was made by Daley when, immediately after the Blues' defeat in Origin I, he declared his under-fire halves would be there again for game two.
This was despite them being unable to close out the result in Sydney when in a winning position.
It was a ballsy decision from the coach, one queried by most and ridiculed by many - including some high-profile former Blues players. The way in which Trent Hodkinson and Mitchell Pearce played on Wednesday night is not only a tribute to their ability, but a big tick for the courage and determination of their coach.
And whether we love him or loathe him, Paul Gallen is a true leader of men.
It was obvious his mere presence lifted his teammates and his toughness, to play on with busted ribs, was - although irresponsible - heroic.
Now we have the perfect scenario - a decider in Brisbane in three weeks.
Despite being exorbitant, ticket sales ramped up first thing yesterday morning and game three will now be a sellout. Queensland must improve, and will be better with the cool, calm Cooper Cronk back.
They will enjoy the faster surface but coach Meninga might need to bring another bigger body on to the bench.
Bring it on.
Yes, yes, yes
AFTER 91,513 rattled the turnstiles at the MCG on Wednesday night, maybe the 'G' should become the third annual venue for Origin.
No, no, no
THE booing and shouting during the pre-game minute's silence for the great Ron Clarke says much about the erosion of common decency in our culture.