Queensland 18-16 New South Wales: Johnathan Thurston's nerves of steel level State of Origin series
Last Updated: 21/06/17 2:00pm
Johnathan Thurston kicked a dramatic late conversion as Queensland snatched an 18-16 victory over New South Wales to level this year's State of Origin series.
Thurston held his nerve in front of a sell-out 82,259 crowd at Sydney's ANZ Stadium after Dane Gagai grabbed his second try of the game with just over three minutes remaining.
The Maroons had trailed 16-6 at half-time after the Blues took charge with quick-fire tries from Jarryd Hayne, Brett Morris and Mitchell Pearce but Gagai's first brought them back into the game.
Queensland's late burst then kept their hopes of an 11th series win in 12 years alive and with the final game being held in Brisbane, they'll have the added bonus of home support behind them in three weeks time.
Queensland opened the scoring when Valentine Holmes squeezed over in the corner after nine minutes but New South Wales quickly responded.
Former San Francisco 49ers player Hayne crossed for a record-equalling 11th NSW Origin try before James Maloney burst through a gap to set up Morris.
Pearce then went over to open up a 10-point lead after James Tedesco broke the line.
Queensland almost replied when Michael Morgan was held up over the line by Josh Dugan but Gagai did set up a grandstand finish as the Maroons broke from inside their own half.
Constant pressure eventually told in the closing minutes as Morgan flicked out a pass and Gagai crashed over.
For the third time in the game Thurston was required to kick at goal from out wide but, like the other two attempts, he made no mistake.
The series now moves back to the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane and the decider will take place on July 12.