Queensland emerged victorious in a pulsating series finale to reclaim the State of Origin shield in a thrilling 22-12 win over New South Wales in Brisbane on Wednesday.

The Maroons looked to be in danger of slipping to a fourth series defeat in the last five in their own backyard, after the Blues handed them a blowout defeat in Perth for Origin II following a narrow win in Sydney in Origin I.

But in one of the modern great deciders in series history, Billy Slater's wounded hosts held on in the final quarter of a bruising encounter to win at Suncorp Stadium in Origin III.

Both teams lost players to injury straight out of the gate, with New South Wales' Cameron Murray and Queensland duo Selwyn Cobbo and Lindsay Collins all forced off with head injuries in the first five minutes.

Despite being down two men, the Maroons still struck first through Valentine Holmes' tackle-busting dart out wide in the 12th minute, though the Penrith Panthers half-back combo of Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai promptly combined for a Blues response six minutes later

Debutant Jacob Saifiti steamrollered through after repeat sets for the visitors to hand them the lead nine out from the break, but Queensland reduced the deficit to two heading into the interval after Kurt Capewell leapt onto a sublime Harry Grant grubber.

An ill-tempered start to the second half saw Dane Gagai and Matt Burton both sin-binned for a dust-up, before Ben Hunt helped quell a Blues resurgence with a superb 40-20, setting the stage for a chain of repeat sets eventually finished by Kalyn Ponga.

Grant looked to have potentially sealed the deal for the Maroons with a dozen minutes left on the clock, only for the bunker to chalk it off - but when Hunt picked off a last-gasp Cleary chip to go the length of the field with two minutes to go, the release of emotion around Brisbane ensured this would be remembered as one of the all-time series encounters.