Blues Ready To Bring Down Maroon Kingdom
We won't be defeated
Every empire has to fall
Let's bring it all down
The booming lyrics to Birds of Tokyo's smash hit 'Empire' reverberated throughout Suncorp Stadium long after they left the stage on Wednesday night.
The ripple effect that began with the pre-game entertainment fed through a youthful Blues outfit free of the scars of Origins of the past as a Queensland team that has dominated for a decade aged before our very eyes.
In the build-up the Queensland faithful spoke of the deeds of the past and the unyielding faith in their foot soldiers but within 20 minutes it was evident that they were being confronted by a New South Wales side undaunted by what had come before them.
The doubts over Nate Myles looked well-founded, Cooper Cronk seemed so intent on holding the ship together that he refused to allow Anthony Milford a turn at the wheel, Matt Gillett was a shadow of his normal self and Justin O'Neill was woefully exposed out wide.
Sensing Maroon blood swirling in the water perhaps even before the first ball was kicked, Queensland captain Cameron Smith tried to drag the defensive line out as quickly as possible time and again but his teammates struggled to follow his lead, allowing the big Blues forwards to punch their way through the centre, tackle after tackle, set after set.
When a 6-0 lead was narrowed to just two points in typical Queensland fashion with half-time approaching the courageous Blues remained resolute, led by the stars of tomorrow who can bring down a Queensland dynasty that only 24 hours earlier appeared to have no end.
"I wasn't that worried," said their leader Boyd Cordner in typically under-stated fashion. "It was pretty close to half-time and they did score off a kick which wasn't too disheartening.
"I knew we had control of the game there and we were winning the ruck at the back-end of that first half.
"I was quietly confident behind the line, I just wanted the boys to lift there until half-time."
James Tedesco, Nathan Peats, Tyson Frizell, Wade Graham, Jake Trbojevic and Jack Bird all now boast an Origin-winning record of 66 per cent or better and rather than being intimidated by the task of taking down an empire they voraciously sought a way to take control of the kingdom.
"Blokes like Jake Trbojevic haven't been part of a losing series but they've grown up playing for the 18s and 20s and they've always won," said Blues prop Aaron Woods, whose early offloads in combination with Andrew Fifita's charges pulled the Maroons defence to pieces.
"They came into the camp with a lot of confidence.
"The last couple of series it's been one bounce of the ball and we didn't take opportunities when we got them and that's what we wanted to speak about. When we do get the big moments we just want to make them count and we did that well, but it's only one game."
With a try, a try assist, 12 tackle breaks, two offloads, two line breaks and 207 run metres Tedesco embodied perfectly this brave new Blues world where effort and skill are displayed in equally high measures.
A debutant in Game Three last year Tedesco is undefeated at Origin level and is at the heart of a re-energised New South Wales team intent on creating their own legacy.
"All the young guys are fresh and ready to go and just want to come in here and play footy and I think that showed," Tedesco said.
"We were just hungry to get out there and have a go.
"We didn't want to think about the past too much, we just wanted to come up here and play our game and I think everyone did that."
And that is now the challenge that faces a Queensland team caught between defending the empire they have created and looking for ways to forge a new future.
Not since 2005 have the Maroons looked so bereft of answers to what the Blues threw at them and with the fear factor now apparently gone they must conjure their greatest comeback or Origin's most sustained period of dominance will come crashing to the ground.
This article first appeared on NRL.com