Queensland made it 11 wins out of the last 12 series to send injured Johnathan Thurston out a winner.
Coach Kevin Walters says the generational change so many Maroons fans have feared for so long is on in earnest - at the cost of just one loss.
"We've had eight players come into the squad for various reasons," he said after the 22-6 win over NSW.
"It's not an easy part of the job ringing up (omitted player) but they understood. The transition was coming, it was only a matter of when.
"We gave those players the chance to wear the Queensland jersey again and when we couldn't get it done, we made the changes."
Meanwhile, captain Cameron Smith revealed he recommended Melbourne clubmate Cameron Munster be given the five-eighth duties.
"I said just let him go out and do what he does for the Storm every week," said Smith. "If he stays healthy, he'll be there for a long, long time I reckon."