Maroons coach Billy Slater said the Blues’ Game Three win reinforced just how hard it is to sweep a State of Origin series.
An integral part of the Maroons dynasty which claimed eight straight Origin victories between 2006-13 but achieved just the one sweep in 2010, the Queensland coach said the NSW fightback at Accor Stadium had confirmed there was little between the sides.
“They’re NSW’s best and Queensland’s best so there’s not much between the teams. We’ve seen that over the years, in that there’s only six clean sweeps,” Slater said post-match.
“I was part of a pretty successful era of Queensland State of Origin and we did it (sweep) once.
“The games are really close and they come down to moments and NSW owned more moments tonight.”
With the Maroons claiming a tight 26-18 win in Adelaide and then dominating in Brisbane, Slater made it back-to-back series wins in his first two years at the helm.
But the Blues’ face-saving 24-10 win in Game Three not only left the series-winning Maroons unsure how to feel on Accor Stadium, but also had the legendary fullback pondering the emotional rollercoaster of rugby league.
“My coach at the Melbourne Storm always used to say to me you get what you deserve in this game and that was very true tonight and very true this year and this series,” he said.
“I felt NSW deserved the game tonight… but I still feel that this team deserves the series.
“The effort and the football that they’ve played over the collective three games, I feel like Queensland deserve the series so we got what we deserved tonight and we got what we deserved this series.
“It’s a tough feeling. You’re not too sure what to do out there on the field after the game so it is a strange feeling.
“It’s hard to look at it as a collective at the moment but I think in time we’ll certainly look at it as a series not a disappointing Game Three.”
Slater’s future as Maroons coach remains uncertain with the 40-year-old yet to extend his tenure for 2024.