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Petero Civoniceva is chaired from the field after his last Origin.

Petero Civoniceva told Mal Meninga to pick someone else.

Mal Meninga told him to stop being stupid.

Robbie Farah went back into camp for the first time since laying his mum to rest.

His Brad Fittler Medal honour told the doubters, including then-NSW assistant coach Steve Roach, once and for all that he could survive, and thrive, at Origin level.

And Brent Tate was lining up "for a massive dog shot" on Greg Bird, before settling for a "crow peck" when he realised it was Paul Gallen who had punched him.

He still tells people "they're cruising for a crow peck" most days.

These are Origin's untold stories from one of the most thrilling contests in history – game three, 2012.

Origin classic Game III 2012

Petero's 30-second retirement

Civoniceva got the call from Meninga before Origin I, and decided he would get in first.

He was 36, back in Brisbane for a swansong season after four years at Penrith, and had already announced he would be retiring from rugby league at the end of 2012.

His retirement from Origin lasted all of 30 seconds.

"I loved being back in Brisbane but the year wasn't a standout for me," Civoniceva recalls.

"I had a long discussion with Mal and basically I was telling him that my time was up. I got in early and started pleading my case. 'It's time to hand the reins over to one of the young front-rowers coming through'.

"Both Matty Scott and Dave Shillington were coming through and I was looking to the future for the Maroons.

"Mal stops me after about 30 seconds and goes, 'don't be stupid'.

"He needed me to do one last job for Queensland, he said my presence alone would mean a lot to the boys.

"Getting that reassurance, that meant the world to me, and I got one last crack at Origin."

Back in 2006 when the Blues were on a three-year winning run, Civoniceva's career had been on the line.

Maroons great Paul Vautin made that plainly clear when he dubbed Civoniceva and front-row partner Steve Price "old and slow" at Queensland's official jersey presentation.

"He told us we were past it," Civoniceva wrote in his 2012 biography, Petero: My Story.

"His tone was sneering and derogatory.

"He said that we were lucky to be in the team for Origin II and if the same thing happened in that match it would be the end of our representative careers."

The Suncorp Stadium crowd paid their respects to Immortal prop Arthur Beetson in the first Origin at the venue since his death in December, 2011.
The Suncorp Stadium crowd paid their respects to Immortal prop Arthur Beetson in the first Origin at the venue since his death in December, 2011. ©NRL Photos

Six years and six series wins later, Civoniceva would become the oldest player in Origin history when he lined up for game one in Melbourne.

Queensland emerged with the most controversial of 18-10 wins.

A Greg Inglis try off the boot of Farah proved the difference and so dubious that Blues coach Ricky Stuart put his players on a media ban to avoid "saying something they would regret a day later".

Farah's finest hour

Leading into the series, Roach - a member of Stuart's coaching staff - had his say, declaring Farah's game "doesn't suit Origin ... You need more than just skill and guile".

By game two Farah had made an Origin-record 63 tackles in a famous 16-12 NSW win, all while his mother Sonia had been rushed to hospital as her battle with pancreatic cancer took a turn for the worse.

Having watched one of her son's finest hours from her hospital bed, Sonia passed away five days later, and Farah played just one Tigers game before going into camp again for the decider at Suncorp Stadium.

Robbie Farah looks to make a break for the Blues.
Robbie Farah looks to make a break for the Blues. ©NRL Photos

"That was the first game I played after my mum had passed away after game two, so getting into camp was a good thing at the time," Farah says.

"It kept my mind off things. The emotions were building up, it was such a huge month but I was able to keep it in check I think until the game."

'I am going to punch this bloke into next week'

Brent Tate was a different story.

All through the series NSW were vocal about Queensland's 'dirty' tactics, employing an independent analyst to highlight certain incidents and taking issue in particular with Nate Myles's conduct.

"So one of our coaches put together a video of our own, showing some of the stuff that Gal [Blues skipper Paul Gallen] and Birdy [Greg Bird] got up to," Tate begins.

"We were pretty wound up and I'm thinking 'I'm not taking this shit'. I was going out of my tree by the time kick-off comes around.

"And in the first few minutes I've copped a knock, a bit of a high shot, turned around, swung and hit Gal.

"Mistake number one right there, I must've forgot I was a winger. He's shaping up and I'm thinking, 'geez you've done it now'."

Both teams duly piled in, with Bird finding himself on his back, arms pinned beneath players and Tate lining up a free hit from above.

Tempers fray between the two sides in the cauldron of Suncorp Stadium.
Tempers fray between the two sides in the cauldron of Suncorp Stadium. ©NRL Photos

"I'm thinking, I am going to f---ing punch this bloke into next week," Tate says.

"I've wound up and on the way down with my hand something's stopped me and I'm thinking, 'this is such a massive dog shot mate, you can't do this'.

"I've half stopped it and given him a bit a crow peck, a little bit of a noogie. Every team I've played in since, the chat is always 'don't mess with Tatey, he'll crow peck ya'.

"It's now my go to line. 'Stop taking the piss or I'll crow peck ya'."

From there one Origin's true epics unfolded.

'I knew straight away we were done'

Brett Morris started the scoring with a scoot from dummy-half, but tries to Darius Boyd (19th minute), Johnathan Thurston (32nd) and Justin Hodges (35th) made for a telling 16-8 Maroons half-time lead.

"That Hodges try from an obstruction [the Queensland centre running behind decoy runner Ben Hannant], I'll remember that forever," Farah muses.

"God knows how they gave that a try."

Blues centre Josh Morris touches down in the 70th minute to level the scores following Todd Carney's sideline conversion.
Blues centre Josh Morris touches down in the 70th minute to level the scores following Todd Carney's sideline conversion. ©NRL Photos

The drama continued throughout. Ben Creagh emerged from one play with a head cut Andrew Johns estimated in commentary as "20 centimetres long".

Several scuffles broke out along the way, the affable Civoniceva even getting involved in his last Origin, rushing in when Cooper Cronk was hit high by Tony Williams.

"You know better than that!" referee Tony Archer scolded.

And NSW slowly fought back. One Farah grubber sat up for Brett Stewart and a 16-14 margin, before a couple of Thurston penalty goals gave Queensland breathing space.

Josh Morris somehow latched onto another Farah punt over the top of Darius Boyd to score in the corner, Todd Carney's clutch sideline conversion making for a 20-20 deadlock with nine minutes to go.

"And then the one everyone remembers," Farah laments of the kick that decided it all.

"Cooper steps up from 40 metres out with an unbelievable field goal.

Cooper Cronk launches the match-winning field goal.
Cooper Cronk launches the match-winning field goal. ©NRL Photos

"Gal was there putting pressure on him and I was near him too, and I knew straight away we were done.

"You turn around and watch the ball go right over the black dot. Your heart just sinks."

Queensland claimed their seventh straight Origin series win as hype around the interstate clashes reached its zenith, games two and three drawing then-record television audiences.

Farah's emotions boiled over in front of the masses, the toll of the last month leaving him "bawling my eyes out on national TV".

NSW hooker Robbie Farah feels the sting of defeat as the Maroons celebrate.
NSW hooker Robbie Farah feels the sting of defeat as the Maroons celebrate. ©NRL Photos

And Civoniceva dominated much of the post-match celebrations, carried from the Suncorp turf on the shoulders of Shillington and Inglis.

The Fijian-born front-rower had been there since the dawn of their dynasty, and ensured the Maroons' Origin dominance would continue for a few years yet.

"I remember sitting in the sheds long after full-time," he says.

"And I'm sitting there thinking about running out onto old Lang Park, putting my Queensland jersey on for the first time, that was in 2001.

"That's the feeling I was remembering, then all these years later I was looking at younger guys like Matt Scott, Shillo and Matty Gillett thinking they get to do the same thing.

"It was an incredible team to be a part of and an incredible game to finish off on. I'm very lucky and they're just such fond memories to be able to look back on."

Origin Classic Game III 2012