NSW fifth-choice Maloney ready for Origin

James Maloney has been given another shot at Origin glory after being picked by NSW for game two.
James Maloney has been given another shot at Origin glory after being picked by NSW for game two.

Not long after his team was unveiled for State of Origin II, NSW coach Brad Fittler joked that Braith Anasta was unavailable to play five-eighth.

Instead, the Blues have recalled veteran James Maloney as part of a whopping seven changes from the team that lost game one in Brisbane.

Maloney could be considered the fifth choice for Perth after Luke Keary, Cody Walker, Mitchell Pearce - and maybe Anasta - were all left out.

"Freddie give me a buzz and asked me if I was ready to go and I said: 'Yes I am, let's do it'," Maloney said as the squad gathered on Sunday night.

"Obviously a little bit disappointed to miss game one, even though it probably wasn't completely unexpected.

"Yeah, excited to get back and try and level this series up."

Pearce was widely tipped for what would've been a dramatic recall for Perth, however was ruled out early on Sunday due to a leg issue.

The former Blues whipping boy stormed into contention after surging into arguably career best NRL form with Newcastle this season.

Prior to that, his Origin career appeared over.

And when Maloney was overlooked for game-one in favour of the untested Walker, it appeared his time in the Blues jumper was up as well.

Maloney said the thought had barely crossed his mind, but insisted he had nothing left to prove in Origin after steering the Blues to success last year.

"You know me, I don't think that much. I just thought, it was what it was," he said.

"Having done the job done last year, I probably just put a lid on a bit of the real desire, something that was eating me away, that I hadn't been part of that.

"If it was time that you're time was up, and it was some of these young kids guys that are going to go onto the future, then I was happy with that.

"Even though I'd still love to be here - and I'm stoked to be back, I've always loved pulling the jersey on - at some point it's going to be your last one."

Australian Associated Press