THIS picture at right tells one of the crucial stories behind the NSW side's success in levelling the State of Origin series at ANZ Stadium.
The picture shows Queensland "gun" Johnathan Thurston, being wrapped up in a ball-and-all tackle by rival five-eighth, Todd Carney.
Thurston had minimal impact in Origin II, won by the Blues 16-12, mainly because Carney and his forwards frustrated the Queensland Test and Origin star with in-your-face tackles for most of the night.
"We had a job to do and that included putting Thurston on the ground quickly," Carney said.
"We were as confident in game one as we were for game two, but it didn't turn out for us.
"We all worked hard, so it was great the way we held on for the win."
Carney returned to club football on Saturday with a bang, and said he felt more confident about big-game nerves which did not exactly help his Origin debut last month.
Before Wednesday night's Origin II, he received plenty of support from Sharks team-mates, officials, family and friends, with Blues coach Ricky Stuart "putting football out of my head" with a general chat about life.
The result: a solid performance which included setting up the try for Brett Stewart, almost scoring one himself when held back by rival Cooper Cronk, a good kicking game in general play (even though his goal-kicking was inaccurate) and, of course, his solid tackling.
Carney stayed in his Blues gear long after other players, seemingly soaking in the atmosphere.
He said he knows he can further improve and added: "As a team, we all know we have more improvement in us."
It was interesting to hear his state and club captain, Paul Gallen, dismiss criticism of Carney in game one, and hear him leap to his defence in Wednesday night's press conference.
Gallen, who was given a thunderous roar from the crowd when introduced before Wednesday night's game, made the point that many have overlooked: that Carney's performance wasn't that bad in Origin I, and certainly not the reason why the Blues lost that game.
He, more than most anyone else, was thrilled by Carney's overall game in front of 83,000 fans. "Toddy is a real good bloke and he did a great job for us," Gallen said.
"Of course now our job won't be finished . . . not until we beat them [the Maroons] in the Origin decider in Brisbane."
As Gallen and the Blues know from past experience, that is easier said than done.