It was all about the “baby Blues” in the lead-up to the game and Brad Fittler’s squad of 11 debutants turned up at the MCG on Wednesday.
The NSW Blues triumphed 22-12 but it was one of just six survivors from the squad humiliated last season who stepped up.
Fullback James Tedesco shadowed workaholic hooker Damien Cook for much of the night. Together they prised inroads through the middle of the Maroon defence – which was just as well, because the Greg Inglis-led Queensland dominated defensively.
NSW will attempt to seal a series win before a home crowd at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on June 24.
If the Kevin Walters-coached Queenslanders square the 2018 series, the decider will be played at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday, July 11.
NSW Blues 22 (James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Addo-Carr tries; James Maloney 3 goals) defeated Queensland Maroons 12 (Valentine Holmes, Dane Gagai tries; Holmes 2 goals) at the MCG. Referees: Bernard Sutton, Ashley Klein. Crowd: 87,122.