When Queensland choked on Sunday night and then turned on their halfback, we knew they had finally discovered what Origin is all about.
As the Maroons routinely slumped from success to success over the last decade, we New South Welshpeople always treasured the fact that we were the only state that truly understood the essence of the interstate series.
On the other hand, we knew Queensland never understood Origin, and maybe never would.
How could a dirty banana bender ever know what it’s like to bear the innate cultural qualities only enjoyed by the contemporary Blues, such as an unshakeable ability to dig deep into their own psychological voids to find new and improved ways to stuff things up?
When had the Maroons ever operated under the burden of commanding the highest calibre of player with the highest calibre of mental luggage, a collective that couldn’t beat themselves, let alone an opposition?
As the Blues continually set new standards, we referred to attributes such as camaraderie, composure and character, and whether the Maroons could ever avoid them at all costs.
We questioned if their collective DNA was receptive to Origin’s brotherhood qualities. Did they have the spirit to turn on each other? Did they have the will to wilt? Had they ever bonded with teammates by driving 200kms south to drink schooners?
But with every failure to concede deflating tries right on halftime/fulltime/anytime, or execute moronic leg-pull penalties on the fifth, or lose an entire series against the run of play, the doubts mounted.
As the Blues continued to widen the gap with big Origin plays – like coronating their untested as saviours before publicly stoning them for failing to meet unattainable goals – the Maroons floundered without a captain who constantly hit it up on the fourth.
From here, many assumed the Maroon jersey would never enjoy that mystical ability of the sky blue – that no matter the circumstances or the form line, whoever pulled it on would outrageously regress.
But after a fruitless decade of cruisy dominance, 2018 will be remembered as the year the Maroons drew a line in the sand.
It will be remembered for widespread calls to cancel Ben Hunt’s residency for not being Cooper Cronk, when the entire future was banked on Kalyn Ponga, and when everyone finally relented to Phil Gould’s bait.
It is the year when the penny dropped, and Queensland finally ‘got it’.
By graduating as the latest State of Remission champions, I expect Queensland to fully embrace the deep-seated culture they have unknowingly pursued for the last ten years.
We shall witness a new tortured psyche, where rapid and encouraging leads make way for the brace position, and pledges to only relax if still ahead by 56 at midnight. Then upon securing victory, the declaration of an imminent dynasty with the series over at 1-0.
Expect implosions, self-cannibalisation, year-round conjecture, amateur espionage, inexplicable bolters, and the practice of sacking everyone and picking anyone.
There will be botched mind games, cranky former greats, positional switches, players out of position, positions out of position, mercilessly pressurising playmakers by spending the build-up trying to find them a life partner, and Jamie Buhrer.
Then the zenith; selecting a captain who comes off the bench.
Be warned: Queensland now get Origin.
Consider this the changing of the guard, and the rise of a new-false-dawn, dead-rubber specialist.