State of Origin 2

Blues crush Maroons in Perth to keep Origin series alive

But after a week of intense criticism and questioning, Brad Fittler's controversial selections, and non-selections, have been justified after NSW kept the series alive with an emphatic 38-6 win against Queensland in Perth on Sunday night.

The Maroons were totally outclassed and out-enthused by a NSW team that had spent an entire week working on working harder.

More effort, Fittler wanted. Effort he got.

James Maloney strolled into Blues camp exactly seven days ago, after repeatedly being snubbed in the weeks prior, asking the coach if he had lost his number.

Blues on high alert as Cook rates Ponga best player in game

Cook rated Ponga the best player in the NRL Telstra Premiership this season and the man that could single-handedly ruin plans of the Blues securing just their second series victory in 13 years.

With a mission of his own to terrorise rucks late in both halves, the 26-year-old expects to see more of Queensland's utility off the bench than he did of Anthony Milford in game one.

Ponga leads the NRL in tackle breaks (116), line break assists (13) and kick return metres with 871 in total.

NSW series win within reach: Fifita

For he and 16 other NSW teammates – 13 of which are yet to experience a series win – the opportunity could not be any more perfect with the Blues fielding an unchanged line-up for the first time in over two decades.

While much of the talk heading into State of Origin II has centred around how Queensland are going to contain Fifita and the Blues forward pack in a bid to level the series, the man himself has other ideas. 

NSW Blues name team for Origin II

Matt Moylan, Jack de Belin and Tom Trbojevic have been added to an extended bench but the selectors have otherwise stood firm with the team that won the series opener two weeks ago.

"It's great to be able to name the same 17 guys again, obviously they did such a great job in Game One," NSW coach Laurie Daley said. 

"The key for us is to try and repeat that performance.

"[Naming the same side] allows you to have a smoother preparations in terms of the week, guys coming back in, they know the structure and the systems.