It started with a dodgy pass from Blake Ferguson.

The type the lumbering larrikin throws at least once every 80 minutes or so, reason alone for a defibrillator in every coach's box in the country.

James Tedesco ended it 50 metres downfield, reviving NSW when they threatened one of their infamous Origin III flatlines.

"That's why he's the vice-captain," Ferguson says simply.

"He leads with his actions."

Fifty minutes later, Tedesco ended up with man of the match honours, the Wally Lewis medal and back-to-back Blues' series wins in NSW's 26-20 triumph.

With Billy Slater confined to the commentary box after last year's controversial player of the series honours, Tedesco claimed the gong plenty figured was his last year.

Already he has assumed Slater's place as the pre-eminent fullback in the game, if not its pre-eminent individual, full stop.

Best player in the world Freddie?

"Well, you gotta say at the moment, if you want to start a debate ..." Fittler mused afterwards, with an ominous shot across the bow to follow.

"He's got a long way to go, he's young. He had a couple of big injuries early in his career.

"I could never see the player he is today at all. I just never saw it. [He's] proved a lot wrong."

With Queensland up 8-2 and opposite number Cameron Munster punching holes in NSW's defence for fun, Ferguson started it.

Match: Blues v Maroons

Game 3 -

Full Time
Blues

Home Team

Blues

Scored 26 points
Maroons

Away Team

Maroons

Scored 20 points

Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network

Taking that wobbly ball inside his own 20 with the Maroons' kick-chase marching forward, Tedesco set about finishing it.

Swerving past two on his left, changing tack to pass another on his right, and leading the pursuit by both states into Queensland's red zone.

"He took some tough runs," Fittler said.

"The stuff he does working around the ball, in defence. there was no doubt that it was all learned off Billy [Slater].

"That job is just so difficult, you gotta be so fit.

"But he's got a bit extra. He's got a bit extra. He's pretty special."

Two penalties after Tedesco scythed through with that little something extra, Paul Vaughan was barging over to pull NSW back to level pegging.

But it was Tedesco pushing them ahead.

When Daly Cherry-Evans wandered in-field leaving Ethan Lowe a step behind, Tedesco struck again.

Presented once more with a disjointed Maroons line, Tedesco shot past the Queensland skipper and straight through Dane Gagai.

His fancy feet and whippet-like acceleration belie Tedesco's 95 kilos and bucket-arse-fuelled power, but it was plain to see when he powered over for the try that put NSW in front.

They were never headed again, despite Queensland's stunning late surge to level the scores at 20-20.

And then with 42 seconds to go, it started once more, with a superb cut-out ball from Mitchell Pearce.

The knockout blow from Origin's perennial punching bag.

Ferguson away but with plenty of work to do, and one more dodgy pass in him.

Managing to stay in the field of play with Tedesco looming in support, Ferguson found his fullback, who had to stop in his tracks to take it.

Starting up once more, past Moses Mbye, and around poor old Gagai again.

Finishing it once and for all, from a heart-starting Ferguson pass.