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Cool head of Maloney helped Blues: Lewis

NSW debutant James Maloney was talked up for weeks as being suited to the State of Origin arena.
Cool head of Maloney helped Blues: Lewis
by AAP

By Will Knight

SYDNEY, June 6 AAP - NSW debutant James Maloney was talked up for weeks as being suited to the State of Origin arena.

And now Luke Lewis knows why.

Following his man-of-the-match display in the Blues' dominant 14-6 game one victory over Queensland on Wednesday night, Lewis saved special praise for the Sydney Roosters five-eighth.

"He was a calming influence all week," said Lewis.

"He's a real character to have around. He's a bag of laughs, he's loud and really cool, calm and collected as well.

"When we were behind the tryline tonight he was keeping us pretty cool and got us back to what we needed to do. So that was really impressive."

NSW coach Laurie Daley and Melbourne mentor Craig Bellamy were amongst those leading into the ANZ Stadium encounter advocating that a brash and rugged Maloney was just what the Blues needed in the No.6 jersey.

Maroons skipper Cameron Smith, who played with Maloney during the 26-year-old's four-game stint with the Storm in 2009, also gave credit to Maloney's polished display.

"I've always regarded him as a very smart footballer," said Smith.

"He's just a natural - he knows when to pass the ball, he knows when to take the line on.

"He's only a little fella but he's not afraid to take the line on and that's what Origin is all about. And he kicked strong."

Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk's philosophy attracted attention earlier in the week when reflecting on his series-winning field goal last year.

But Lewis, who set the Blues on their way with a fifth-minute inside ball for Jarryd Hayne's opening try, said his own No.7 got him in a relaxed frame of mind while in camp.

"A big thanks to Mitchell Pearce - he got me mentally right," said Lewis.

"He has just been outstanding all week - him and James Maloney getting our game plan right, making sure everyone knew what they were doing.

"Pearcey was just into me all day, every day at training making sure I was doing this and doing that. And it definitely helped tonight."

Lewis is now looking forward to returning to NRL action for Cronulla after missing two games with a shoulder problem.

He'll be critical to NSW's chances of wrapping up the series in three weeks after being a constant menace on the right edge for the Queensland defence and also getting through 32 tackles in an 80-minute effort.

"We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves," said Lewis.

"It's a totally different game going up to Queensland.

"We need to probably even have a better preparation than we did this week."

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