NSW, featuring Gerringong's Tariq Sims, were always going to win Origin II in Perth - Blind Freddy could see it. The rest of us... well it was a little more up for debate.
Seven changes, Latrell Mitchell dumped, Nathan Cleary retained, James Maloney returned, a five-eighth and a fullback picked in the centres, what on earth was Brad Fittler thinking?
It was a question plenty were asking but Fittler got the last laugh, orchestrating an emphatic 38-6 win to keep the series alive and send a decider back to Sydney.
To borrow a phrase from Paul Keating, it was a win for the true believers. Maroons coach Kevin Walters might need to track down the coach whisperer for a chat quick smart given the other team will now start as favourites for game three.
It's where they traditionally like to be, but it's not really the ethos of Kevvie these days. Whether a decider sees a return to the old ways remains to be seen- they'll be underdogs at least.
Overlooked for game one, Maloney starred on his return to the arena, laying on his side's first two tries and producing a 40-20 in a first half dominated by the Blues.
He mixed in two forward passes, the second denying Josh Addo-Carr 10 minutes before halftime, in a typically yin and yang performance but it was Tom Trbojevic's selection that proved the true master stoke, the Manly star grabbing a hat-trick in the centres.
He looked every bit the fullback when he out-leapt Kayln Ponga to a Maloney kick for the opening try seven minutes in and benefitted from some brilliant lead-up work from James Tedesco for his next two either side of halftime.
Tyson Frizell also bulldozed his way across from a Maloney short-ball midway through the opening stanza, with a penalty try to Will Chambers after he was felled by Jack Wighton in pursuit of a Ben Hunt grubber the lone bright spot for the Maroons.
The Blues lost Cleary to an ankle injury at halftime, with Wade Graham shifting to the halves. They didn't miss a beat, with Maloney grabbing two penalty goals before Trbojevic's third sealed the result.
Addo-Carr's second-half double was simply sugar on top and leaves the Maroons with plenty to think about ahead of game three.