Brad Fittler has taken one of the biggest gambles in State of Origin history, dropping one of his team's biggest attacking weapons with the series on the line.
In a stunning decision, Fittler has decided to axe the under-fire Latrell Mitchell after a below-par performance in the opening game of the series.
He said the decision had nothing to do with anything other than Mitchell's form and described it as "one of the toughest decisions" he's had to make.
Fittler has opted for a new centre pairing of Tom Trbojevic and Jack Wighton, dumping Mitchell and Josh Morris for the do-or-die clash in Perth on Sunday night.
It's understood the Blues were concerned with Mitchell's mental state and ability to get himself up for the clash against the Maroons in seven days time.
The Blues have made seven changes from the 17 they named for the opening game of the series, including naming two debutants in Melbourne's Dale Finucane and Newcastle's Daniel Saifiti.
Fittler admits dropping Latrell 'hardest thing I've had to do'
James Maloney is back in sky blue following an afternoon of drama that saw Mitchell Pearce ruled out of Origin II through injury.
After being overlooked for Cody Walker in game one, and brushed for game two in favour of Pearce, Maloney answered an SOS from Fittler at the 11th hour.
Maloney will reunite with Panthers halves partner Nathan Cleary as the Blues, who have decided to drop Walker, head to Perth looking to keep the series alive on Sunday night.
Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues
Injuries to David Klemmer and Payne Haas has forced a reshuffle in the forward pack, with Tariq Sims also called back into the team to replace Roosters back-rower Angus Crichton.
"You just know what you are going to get from Dale Finucane," Fittler said.
"[Saifiti] is a big body. When you lose someone like David Klemmer you can't replace those sort of people. He knows what is expected, he is doing a great job for Newcastle.
"The experience of Wade Graham and Blake Ferguson coming back is really going to help us over there."
Ferguson has also earned a recall to the Blues despite many believing his Origin days were over after a number of off-field incidents the last time he donned the sky blue back in 2017.
The Trbojevic-Wighton centre pairing raised a few eye brows as neither of them play in the position for their respective clubs.
"Tom Trbojevic, we just needed to get him in the team," Fittler said.
"They've both played centre before, I'm very confident they can do the job. We've got a week to prepare with the boys and get them used to who they have to defend with and attack with. I'm very confident they will be comfortable playing in those positions."
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 2 -
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth
- Nine Network
Sims is back in the squad after making his debut in game three of the 2018 series.
"We missed that [enforcer role] in the first game. We really looked after Tyson [Frizell] in that first game and that's why we chose Angus over Tariq. This time Boyd Cordner is going in with a bit of an injury," Fittler said.
"We've got to find out what state his ankle's in. He's played the last two games, I think he ran for about 160 metres this afternoon for the Roosters, that's the sort of leadership we needed in our team."
1. James Tedesco
2. Blake Ferguson
3. Tom Trbojevic
4. Jack Wighton
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. James Maloney
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Daniel Saifiti
9. Damien Cook
10. Paul Vaughan
11. Boyd Cordner (c)
12. Tyson Frizell
13. Jake Trbojevic
14. Dale Finucane
15. Tariq Sims
16. Cameron Murray
17. Wade Graham