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State of Origin II: Blues 1-17; Maroons settled

After being written off by all and sundry going into game one, the Maroons head to Sydney with the chance to wrap up the Ampol State of Origin series.

The Blues led 10-0 at half-time of the opening clash but couldn't contain the Queenslanders in the second half and lost 18-14.

However, as Daly Cherry-Evans was quick to point out, the Maroons won game one last year and lost the series. The job is far from done.

Maroons coach Wayne Bennett said he would see how his troops pulled up before making any changes for a seven-day turnaround, while NSW mentor Brad Fittler's hand will be forced by an injury.

The rundown

Team news

Blues: Jack Wighton, who had been hampered by a leg injury, is good to go after training on Monday while reserve centre Stephen Crichton did not finish the session after he tweaked a niggling hamstring complaint but will be available for selection next week.

Captain Boyd Cordner won't play due to the effects of a head knock suffered in Adelaide and Luke Keary has been demoted to the reserves among a raft of changes for game two.

Keary and Reagan Campbell-Gillard were the first two players cut from the 21-man squad on Tuesday. Cameron McInnes and Crichton were omitted an hour before kick-off, with the Blues to run out 1-17.

Cody Walker (who was on the bench for game one) will start at five-eighth, with Angus Crichton to start in Cordner's spot in the back row. Payne Haas and Junior Paulo swap spots from game one, with Haas to start and Paulo to come off the bench.

With Cameron Murray (hamstring) having been ruled out on Thursday, there is a new-look bench. As well as Paulo, Dale Finucane returns to Origin while Isaah Yeo and Nathan Brown have been named to make their debuts.

Maroons: Centre Kurt Capewell has shaken off his groin problem for the Sydney showdown with the Blues and the team will run out as as originally listed.

Brenko Lee and Corey Allan were the first two players cut from the reserves 24 hours before kick-off. Josh Kerr and Edrick Lee suffered the same fate on game night.

Valentine Holmes will make his Origin comeback and Dunamis Lui is a surprise inclusion at prop after Christian Welch was ruled out due to a heavy knock late in game one.

In the other change to the Queensland starting side, Coen Hess is out, with Jaydn Su'A to start after impressing in game one. 

Apart from Lui, Su'A and Holmes, the only other change from the game-time 17 from Adelaide is uncapped Titans prop Moeaki Fotuaika getting a spot on the interchange bench.

Holmes hasn't represented the state since 2018, after which he had an NFL sojourn. The Maroons needed a new fullback after AJ Brimson suffered a series-ending lisfranc ligament injury in his foot towards the end of game one.

Key match-up

Dane Gagai v Jack Wighton. Gagai outpointed Wighton in the series opener, including beating him to make a line break and set up a try, so the NSW star will be desperate to make amends.

Stat Attack

NSW got the better of Queensland in a plethora of areas in game one. They ran for more metres (1914 v 1852), made more line breaks (4 v 3), broke more tackles (31 v 26), popped more offloads (13 v 11), forced more dropouts (2 v 1), missed less tackles (26 v 31), made less errors (13 v 14) and conceded less penalties (2 v 3).

The Maroons had a higher completion rate (78 v 75 percent) and didn't have to make as many tackles (355 v 395).

Game two tickets start from $45 for members and $49 for general public or get your wig and experience the Blatchy’s effect from $85 for members or $90 for the general public