Shattered playmakers James Maloney and Adam Reynolds are desperate for a second chance after being unable to guide NSW home in a dour State of Origin opener in Sydney.
NSW’s first-time halves pairing were unable to disguise their disappointment after a lone first-half try for Boyd Cordner – set up by Maloney – was all the Blues had to show for long periods of domination at ANZ Stadium.
“That hurts because you look back at it and call it a game we probably should have won,” Maloney said after the 6-4 loss on Wednesday night left the Blues needing to win Origins II and III to avoid a 10th series defeat in 11 years.
“I thought our boys in the middle were enormous. They laid a platform and let us play footy. We probably created opportunities and didn’t ice them in the end.
“That changed the result. We need to make sure we (improve) because it’s going to be tenfold up there at Suncorp in game II.
“We put us in the situation that it’s do or die.”
While Maloney was recalled after two years in the Origin wilderness, Reynolds made his debut for the Blues – and it admitted to a mixed night.
“There are some things that I’m pleased with but there were also little errors I can improve on,” he said.
“I’ll go back and have a look at it. There were a few opportunities there we could have really capitalised but we just chose the wrong option sometimes.”
The South Sydney sharpshooter also botched a conversion attempt that he’d ordinarily slot with his eyes closed, the miss ultimately proving the difference in the two-point ball game.
But Maloney thought attack-wise the duo combined well enough to warrant another crack at the Maroons in three weeks in Brisbane.
“We created more opportunities than Queensland created, but we couldn’t finish them off,” Maloney said.
“Being in the halves, we need to take opportunities. Queensland got one opportunity and they took it.
“I reckon we created maybe three at least and took one of them and that becomes the difference in a game like this.
“(But) Nothing has changed in what we need to do. We needed to win two games at the start and we still need to do that.
“We win together, we lose together. We’re a team and it’s on us to turn it around.”