Missed moment of absolute Origin class
QUEENSLAND legend Alfie Langer has a reputation for becoming a little bit too involved in matches when he's supposed to be the humble waterboy.
The Broncos great has at times been accused of secretly running both Queensland's and the Broncos' attack, barking orders from behind the Maroons line.
But when the legendary playmaker popped up in the thick of the action during NSW's famous victory in State of Origin II at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night - NSW supporters would have been more relieved to see him than their Maroons counterparts.
It's because the 51-year-old delivered one of the great moments of sporting class during the second half which went widely overlooked in the wake of the Blues' brave victory at the death.
Langer appeared to be the voice of reason that finally convinced Blues captain Boyd Cordner to take himself off the field after copping a vicious blow to the head with just eight minutes to play and the game on the line.
He took a nasty blow to the head as he tried to go low in a tackle on Dylan Napa.
Cordner tried to argue with a NSW trainer that he was healthy and prepared to play on and struggled against the Blues official as he tried to pull him from the field.
It was only when Langer joined in to try and talk sense to Cordner that the Roosters forward appeared to see that his night was done.
Langer took his attention away from his Queensland players to walk over and try to help keep Cordner upright as he struggled to keep his balance in the seconds after Napa's run.
Langer's clear concern for Cordner didn't go totally unseen.
Cordner was eventually taken from the field for a concussion test and did not return before the full-time siren.
He did return to the bench after full time to celebrate with NSW teammates.
He was involved in another impressive display of class between the Blues and Maroons camps when he shared a quick moment with Queensland captain Greg Inglis.
Despite his early exit, Cordner was awarded man of the match for his workhorse first half in helping the Blues fightback from a 10-0 deficit.
He was unable to take part in the official post-match press conference. Coach Brad Fittler had to do his interview with James Maloney alongside him as Cordner remained monitored by Blues officials.
As long as he remembers the moment at full time that NSW re-claimed the State of Origin shield - Cordner won't mind about missing some of the post-game ceremony.
He would have been proud at his team's ability to dig-deep without him and James Roberts on the field when the Blues were reduced to 12 men from the 69th minute to the 79th minute.
"We were going to have to face adversity at some point - it was how we reacted to that," NSW half James Maloney said.
"That's Origin. A lot of these guys are playing their first series. They don't understand and don't appreciate the significance of it - it's a special moment and hopefully it's the start of something."
Queensland threatened to break NSW hearts yet again when returning hero Billy Slater celebrated his landmark 30th Origin by helping the visitors race to a 10-0 lead after just 20 minutes.
Instead of Independence Day for the Blues it loomed as Groundhog Day. However, the Blues rallied to ensure Brad Fittler became just the sixth NSW coach to claim the Origin title in his first series.
NSW backed up their 22-12 game one win with victory in the first Sunday night Origin game in 17 years.
The dead rubber will be held in Brisbane on July 11.