NSW are banking on a second consecutive State of Origin camp for their new spine to help deliver a series-saving win in Brisbane.
After losing game one on home soil, the Blues face the near-impossible task of dismantling the all-conquering Queensland side in their own backyard to level the series.
Defeat would give the Maroons a remarkable 10th series win in 11 years.
The Blues gathered on Wednesday for their first field session since arriving in Coffs Harbour, but skipper Paul Gallen was limited to light running due to a minor ankle injury.
Rookie Wade Graham was also missing after returning to Sydney to fight a grade-one careless high tackle charge at the NRL judiciary in a bid to make his Origin debut.
Development player Bryce Cartwright trained with the left-edge group.
Five-eighth James Maloney admits it’s not an ideal way to start the week but takes solace from being able to spend more time honing combinations with spine Matt Moylan, Adam Reynolds and Robbie Farah.
“We always said we’d get better as the series went on,” Maloney said.
“I thought there were things we did really well in game one and other things that we need to do better. Another week together, we can develop that a little bit more.
“(But) we’ll have to be better because we didn’t get the job done in game one. It’s going to be a bigger assignment up there.”
Centre Michael Jennings believes Graham could be the key to unlocking not just his game on the left edge but also an avalanche of points for a Blues team that have averaged just 10 points under coach Laurie Daley.
In 10 games under his tenure, the Blues have topped 14 points just once.
“With Wado coming in, that adds more to my game,” Jennings said.
“He’s played five-eighth and having a back-rower like that, that can put you through holes and ask questions of the other defenders. That’s always a plus.”
Jennings said the Blues’ lack of scoring was down to execution and not Daley’s game plans.
“I don’t think it’s the preparation. I think Loz (Daley) and the staff here have done an awesome job in getting everyone ready for game one,” Jennings said.
“Our kicking game was good. (Adam Reynolds) has got a good kicking game.
“But we do need to score some more tries. It was just one of those games in game one. It’s more executing and making sure that we do the right job.”