We all know that an Origin game 3 dead rubber is never going to be quite as exciting as a decider, but tonight was still a chance for Queensland to show that they’re still a force to be reckoned with even without the huge roster of greats that kept them in Origin wins for the last dozen years. And tonight they did a pretty good job of it.

The first 30 minutes of the first half saw a near-try from Billy Slater just before the four-minute mark, a beautiful 90-metre try from Valentine Holmes, and a strong defence from the Blues as Queensland kept the ball nearly entirely near their try line.

The Blues quickly clawed their way back in the last ten minutes, with a beautiful run from Tom Trbojevic after an intercept and Tedesco sneaking over the line in the closing seconds, putting the half-time score at 8-12.

The Blues came back sharper in the second half, eking out a stronger share of the possession. Holmes nabbed a second try at the 51-minute mark, followed by a perfectly executed play from Muster and Cooper that saw Cherry-Evans slip over the line with another try for the Maroons.

The rest of the game played out real messy, Queensland seemed exhausted but the Blues couldn’t quite seem to crack their defence. The Blues made a concerted push in the final two minutes trying to find the try line but couldn’t find their feet. Once Queensland got possession again they were in no hurry to go anywhere, confident the Blues wouldn’t be able to do anything with the last sixty seconds, and they were right.

Queensland brings the series to 2-1 with 18-12 on the board at full time.

Let’s see how next year goes, hey?

Image: Getty Images / Cameron Spencer