Fifita's bullocking charges and the promotion of the football from front row partner Aaron Woods regularly pulled the Maroons defence apart but the Queenslanders showed tremendous courage to repel wave after wave of attack, conceding a try inside the final minute of the half to trail 12-4.
After Queensland had won the early arm-wrestle it was the Blues who tore a hole through the middle of the Maroons defence, an inside pass from Mitchell Pearce creating space for Andrew Fifita whose one-handed offload under the attempts at tackle from Matt Gillett and Dylan Napa gave James Maloney a one-on-one with Darius Boyd that ended with the Blues five-eighth scoring under the posts for a 6-0 lead after seven minutes.
The Blues continued to hammer away at a Queensland defensive line that seemed to be wilting with each pulsating minute but as Origin has a tendency to do the momentum of the game swung dramatically five minutes from the break when a bombed Blues opportunity turned into a Queensland try at the other end.
With the Maroons on the ropes and out on their feet a piece of Jarryd Hayne brilliance put the Blues in perfect position to score their second but a desperate Darius Boyd tackle stopped James Tedesco inches short of the line under the posts.
Queensland's two best players of the first half, wingers Dane Gagai and Corey Oates, then engineered their side's first try of the game, Gagai's bust putting the Maroons into the area of the field where a Cooper Cronk cross-field kick gave Oates the chance to leap high above Blake Ferguson and bring his side back to within two points.
Given their dominance the Blues had to find a way to be further in front at the break and after returning from a HIA assessment it was Fifita again who inspired their second try with 33 seconds left in the half.
An inside pass from Wade Graham to James Tedesco exposed Cameron Smith coming across slowly and when Gillett was unable to cover the Blues fullback drew his opposite number to put Pearce over underneath the sticks, Maloney's conversion giving them an eight-point buffer.
New South Wales 12 (James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce tries; Maloney 2 goals) lead Queensland 4 (Corey Oates try) at half-time at Suncorp Stadium.