With the series on the line, Blues coach Brad Fittler has recalled a couple of familiar faces and handed debuts to Matt Burton and Siosifa Talakai as they look to square things up in Perth.
Manly warhorse Jake Trbojevic and Rooster Angus Crichton are back in the fold with an eye to curbing the Maroons' dominance around the ruck, while Burton's towering bombs offer a second kicking option to relieve pressure on key playmaker Nathan Cleary.
For the Maroons, the loss of Xavier Coates and Reuben Cotter to injury sees in-form Cowboy Murray Taulagi come in on the wing for his Origin debut and Rabbitohs hardman Jai Arrow recalled to the squad after missing Game Three last year for disciplinary reasons.
The Blues will take some solace from the fact they hammered Queensland 38-6 in 2019 in the only Origin game played at Optus Stadium but Billy Slater's men have history on their side after winning the opener and will be full of confidence after a titanic defensive display in Sydney.
Fittler has enjoyed great success since taking the helm in 2018 but defeat in Perth would mean Queensland have won two of the past three series and give Slater a dream start to his Origin coaching career.
Sportsbet Betting preview: NSW v QLD
New South Wales
The Blues are 1-17 with no late changes. Unlike Game One where Brad Fittler opted for a couple of changes on game day he has chosen to go in with the side as named.
With Jack Wighton unavailable for due to Covid protocols, Bulldogs five-eighth Matt Burton has been called into the squad at centre, a position he handled with ease during the Panthers' 2021 premiership charge. He lines up alongside former team-mate Stephen Crichton, who has been promoted from the bench to starting centre with Kotoni Staggs overlooked.
Manly workhorse Jake Trbojevic's omission from Game One caused plenty of debate but he returns for his 14th Origin, along with Angus Crichton, who was part of series wins in 2018, '19 and '21 but was overlooked for the opener in Sydney. Cronulla powerhouse Siosifa Talakai is poised to make his Origin debut on a new-look Blues bench alongside Crichton, Junior Paulo and hooker Damien Cook, who has been replaced in the starting line-up by premiership-winning Panther Api Koroisau. Cronulla's Nicho Hynes is 18th Man as he was in Sydney.
The other new faces in the squad are Victor Radley, Clint Gutherson and McLean. Forwards Ryan Matterson, Tariq Sims and Reagan Campbell-Gillard all lost their places in the team.
Queensland former greats give a last minute update on the team
The Maroons are 1-17 with no late changes.
The Maroons have been forced into a couple of changes after Reuben Cotter hurt his hamstring during warm-up for the Cowboys' game against Manly and Xavier Coates suffered an ankle injury in Game One. Cowboys winger Murray Taulagi comes into the starting side after he was part of the extended squad in Sydney while back-rower Jai Arrow returns to the squad.
A former Queensland under-20s and Junior Kangaroos player, Taulagi will become the seventh Cowboy to be involved in Origin this year with teammates Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Valentine Holmes, Tom Dearden, Jeremiah Nanai and Cotter all featuring in the squad for Game One and Jordan McLean joining the NSW squad for Perth. Broncos Thomas Flegler and Corey Oates have been added to the wider squad along with Titans forward Beau Fermor and Warriors fullback Reece Walsh.
The 18th Man for the Maroons is Tom Dearden.
Match: Blues v Maroons
Game 2 -
Fullback for Blues is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Maroons is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
Winger for Blues is number 2 Brian To'oWinger for Maroons is number 2 Selwyn Cobbo
Centre for Blues is number 3 Matt BurtonCentre for Maroons is number 3 Valentine Holmes
Centre for Blues is number 4 Stephen CrichtonCentre for Maroons is number 4 Dane Gagai
Winger for Blues is number 5 Daniel TupouWinger for Maroons is number 5 Murray Taulagi
Five-Eighth for Blues is number 6 Jarome LuaiFive-Eighth for Maroons is number 6 Cameron Munster
Halfback for Blues is number 7 Nathan ClearyHalfback for Maroons is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans
Prop for Blues is number 8 Payne HaasProp for Maroons is number 8 Lindsay Collins
Hooker for Blues is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Maroons is number 9 Ben Hunt
Prop for Blues is number 10 Jake TrbojevicProp for Maroons is number 10 Josh Papalii
2nd Row for Blues is number 11 Cameron Murray2nd Row for Maroons is number 11 Kurt Capewell
2nd Row for Blues is number 12 Liam Martin2nd Row for Maroons is number 12 Felise Kaufusi
Lock for Blues is number 13 Isaah YeoLock for Maroons is number 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
Interchange for Blues is number 14 Damien CookInterchange for Maroons is number 14 Harry Grant
Interchange for Blues is number 15 Angus CrichtonInterchange for Maroons is number 15 Jai Arrow
Interchange for Blues is number 16 Junior PauloInterchange for Maroons is number 16 Patrick Carrigan
Interchange for Blues is number 17 Siosifa TalakaiInterchange for Maroons is number 17 Jeremiah Nanai
Replacement for Blues is number 18 Nicholas HynesReplacement for Maroons is number 18 Tom Dearden
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins
Jarome Luai v Cameron Munster
The Blues No.6 needs to find a way to take some heat off Nathan Cleary, who was hounded by the Maroons kick pressure in Sydney and took a pounding. The addition of Matt Burton adds another kicking option but Luai is the man closest to the action and the time has come for him to stamp his authority on the Origin arena just as his opposing five-eighth Munster did in Game One. The Maroons maestro was at his instinctive best, tormenting the Blues defence with his running game and kicking expertly when required. If Munster is allowed to roam free again he will punish the Blues and the Origin shield will be headed back to Queensland. If Luai can find his mojo and set the Blues backs in motion with some trademark dashes then we could be headed for a decider in Brisbane on July 13.
Munster's man of the match performance
There have been 124 matches played since the State of Origin concept began with a one-off game at Lang Park on July 8, 1980. The ledger stands at 66 wins to Queensland, 56 to NSW and two draws. The Maroons have won 22 series to the Blues' 16 with two drawn in 1999 and 2002.
Queensland's Lindsay Collins and Pat Carrigan combined for 31 runs and 316 metres off the bench in Game One as they provided maximum impact when called on by Billy Slater. Blues bench forwards Liam Martin, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Ryan Matterson could muster only 214 metres from 27 runs.
Match: Blues v Maroons
Game 2 -
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth
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