Three years on, the hurt of losing his only State of Origin series still burns strong within James Maloney as he inches closer to a NSW recall.
The Cronulla playmaker is on the verge of a return to the Blues side for the first time since 2013, after steering the Sharks level on competition points with ladder-leaders Brisbane.
Maloney said on Tuesday he still has bitter memories of his failed Origin campaign that he wants to atone for if he gets the call up to coach Laurie Daley’s side this year.
“If I get the opportunity to go back 100 per cent there is unfinished business,” Maloney said.
“You don’t want to have your one crack and not win the series.
“I don’t know what is happening there, I can only wait and see, if the opportunity does come up there will be some hunger to change the result.
“I have been pretty happy with how I have been playing. I guess I have done enough to put my name in the ring.”
The premiership-winning pivot hasn’t played Origin since he and then-Sydney Roosters halves partner Mitchell Pearce couldn’t lead NSW to a series win three years ago.
NSW lost the decider 12-10 in Sydney that year.
Maloney has had precious little contact with Daley since.
“I haven’t spoken with Laurie (this year),” Maloney said.
“I didn’t speak to him (after I was dropped) it just panned out that way.
“I don’t think I needed an explanation. It is just a side that gets picked every year.
“We didn’t get the job done in 2013, and to think you get the right to wear the jersey the next year just isn’t the way it works.
“If I get another opportunity this year I would be stoked.”
Maloney also said he hadn’t spoken to his Sharks skipper and NSW captain Paul Gallen about his chances of playing Origin this season.