Nathan Cleary with Blues and Panthers teammate James Maloney. Picture: Brett Costello
Nathan Cleary with Blues and Panthers teammate James Maloney. Picture: Brett Costello

Maloney’s warning for young Blues

NSW five-eighth James Maloney will prepare his rookie NSW teammates for a Queensland side which he claimed would be "miles" better than State of Origin I.

"It will be all or nothing for them," Maloney said.

Now a senior member of the Blues squad, Maloney will take his young kids aside this week and warn against complacency after such a comprehensive win in Melbourne.

NSW players gathered at the Crowne Plaza in Coogee to undergo medical and fitness tests ahead of Sunday's big match at ANZ Stadium.

Maloney has been part of NSW sides that led one-nil in 2013 and 2017 - before losing the series.

Told previous NSW sides had stumbled when one-nil up, Maloney said: "I think we're aware of that and that will be addressed.

"We addressed that straight away after game one - yes it was good but the understanding that Queensland has some proven, quality Origin players possibly coming back.

Maloney is one of the most experienced players in the Blues side.
Maloney is one of the most experienced players in the Blues side.

"They are definitely going to be better. Hopefully with our boys having experienced it now they are better for that run and we can improve on what we did in game one because that is what we will have to do to win.

"I think Queensland will be miles better. Just purely on mentality and the fact it is all or nothing, it is on the line. You have to approach it with the same outlook for us.

"You have to meet the attitude they are going to come with. Purely on attitude they will be better.

"In 2013, we won the first one, last year we won the first one. At least two of the three so we're well aware of the fact you can win one and not get the result you want."

There is a feeling NSW's rookie team may get too excited at the prospect of being one-nil ahead.

And they have been constantly been told they're just 80 minutes from State of Origin history.

"Queensland love that sort of stuff. The quality of players and threats that could be added to that side - 100 per cent they are going to be better," Maloney said.

NSW coach Brad Fittler said Maloney was almost subdued before Origin I - far removed from his usual jovial character.

"It's probably something I have learned out at Penrith this year with all the young guys," he said.

"You still have fun but you have to be aware of the affect it can have on younger blokes. You might have the ability to relax and switch on.

"Not everyone has that ability. It's the flow-on effect its can have on people around you. It is something I have learnt to be conscious of.

"Definitely in a leadership role here now … it's something you have to be mindful of."

Maloney has a sciatic nerve issue in his back but isn't in any doubt for the big match.

"It felt like a little bit of a sciatic nerve. It was just a little pinch. Apparently it happens when you get old. I am starting to hit that sort of point but it's all right," he said.

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