NSW don’t need to overreact to their spectacular State of Origin II collapse and make wholesale changes for game three, according to five-eighth James Maloney.
Bookmakers have already installed the Blues as heavy underdogs for the Suncorp Stadium decider as Queensland attempt to farewell champion Johnathan Thurston a winner.
The Blues have lost the past six Origin deciders dating back to the beginning of the Maroons reign in 2006 – Thurston’s second series in the interstate arena.
Maloney urged coach Laurie Daley and adviser Peter Sterling to keep faith in the 17 players that dominated for most of this year’s campaign.
“I’m sure they will (keep the team). There’s no reason to change it. I don’t know that there’s reason to. It’s stuff we need to fix up,” Maloney said.
The Cronulla playmaker said the Blues would rely on their shellacking of Queensland in game one to give them the belief to spoil Thurston’s party.
He insists NSW have been the better team so far this series.
“We need to do what we did in game one and what we did for the first half in this game. I suppose when you look at it, we played well and beat them well game one,” he said.
“We threw a game away tonight that we should’ve won. We’ll go up there confident in doing the job, but she’ll still be a big ask.”
Maloney was at a loss to explain his team’s second-half fade-out at ANZ Stadium, and rued missing a strong opportunity to close out the series.
Up 16-6 at halftime, an ill-disciplined Blues invited Queensland back into the contest with 20 of their 27 missed tackles as well as costly errors and penalties.
Centre Jarryd Hayne was the chief culprit with three turnovers and two penalties, however the Blues still had a four-point lead with four minutes remaining.
“It’s a game we had to win. We should never have lost it from there. It was a disappointing last 15 or so minutes,” Maloney said.
“The first 40 we played worked, and we just seemed to do the same again. But along the way we made some decisions that weren’t what they should’ve been.
“We gave the opportunity after opportunity, and eventually they took it.”