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NSW insist they can defy history to stay in Origin race

Michael Maguire insists his NSW side are capable of defying history and denying Queensland a third straight State of Origin series victory.

The Blues’ series got off to the worst possible start on Wednesday night, beaten 38-10 by the Maroons with Joseph Suaalii’s campaign all but over after his send-off for the high shot on Reece Walsh.

The result puts Queensland firmly on the path towards keeping intact Billy Slater’s perfect record since becoming coach in 2022.

The team who have won Game I has been victorious in 31 of the 42 State of Origin series, with the Blues only rebounding from 1-0 down three times in their history.

Making matters even worse for NSW is that they will spend the next two games on the road, with matches in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Only once in history has the team won the final two games away from home after going down 1-0, with that being the NSW team in 1994.

And even if the Blues do draw level at 1-1 in Melbourne, they have lost their last six deciders at Suncorp Stadium.

But despite history sitting firmly against his side, Maguire was adamant it was possible to turn things around.

“I’ve been in this circumstance before, so I know exactly what we’ll do,” he said.

“I’ll obviously talk to the players. If you have 13 players out there, the whole game is a different ball game. I’m really confident in where the players are taking what we’re doing.”

The Blues are also insisting they can take positives out of their biggest ever loss in Sydney, namely through the period after halftime.

Despite being down to a man for 73 minutes, NSW had better field position for the majority of the match but lacked end-of-set polish and genuine game-breaking threat.

After falling 20-6 behind in the 25minute and with 12 men on the field, NSW remained in the game until the latter parts of the second half.

The hosts had an attacking set with 14 minutes to go while down 20-10, before the Blues’ defense burst open and conceded three more late tries.

“We take a lot of belief in that (period). The boys showed a lot of fight,” captain Jake Trbojevic said. “That 20 minutes was a really dominant period with a man down. But it’s a long game, we’ve got to do it for longer periods.”

Queensland are also adamant they can be better.

Walsh won’t play for Brisbane again before that game, with his 11-day stand down for a concussion to rule him out of matches against Cronulla and South Sydney.

But the Maroons at this stage have no other injury concerns, after giving themselves the best chance at retaining the shield.

“We’ve got a lot of improvement left in us. We’ll take the win on their home soil but there’s so much work to be done,” captain Daly Cherry-Evans said.

“I honestly don’t know if (a win in Sydney) counts for anything if you don’t go out there and earn the next two wins.

“They’re not going to give us anything. It’s all about us.”

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