Origin exile to end among Blues shocks
NSW are set to end the State of Origin exile of Mitchell Pearce as well as hand Daniel Saifiti a maiden jersey as the Blues attempt to even up the series.
The Newcastle Herald has reported the Newcastle Knights duo were set to be handed their Blues jersey's after being told by coach Brad Fittler after their 34-4 loss to the Melbourne Storm.
Saifiti is set to be handed a debut after the injured David Klemmer put forward his Knights bash brother after strong performances against the Rabbitohs and Roosters in recent games.
Speaking earlier in the week, Saifiti said it wasn't on his radar but that he was humbled by Klemmer's faith.
"It definitely means a lot coming from big 'Klem'. We've got a close relationship now and I know he trusts me when we're on the field, so to back me like that is pretty cool," Saifiti said.
"I'm a realist and I know it's unlikely but if I did get picked, I'd take it with both hands and put my best foot forward, that's for sure."
Pearce is also expected to make a return with The Daily Telegraph adding the names of Wade Graham and Blake Ferguson as also potentially making returns.
Pearce is a veteran of 18 Origin matches but was thought to have a black mark against his name for the state.
But it appears as though he will get another shot for his 19th Origin game despite the thumping at the hands of Cameron Munster's Storm.
The Knights came into Saturday afternoon's AAMI Park match with confidence high after six-straight wins, but they were no match for competition leaders Melbourne at their best.
The Storm ran in six tries to one, with Queensland State of Origin star Munster having a hand in four.
Canterbury-bound second-rower Joe Stimson finished with a double.
Munster intercepted a Knights pass that led to a try by centre Marion Seve and pulled off two of his trademark strips which helped to keep his team on top.
"He just comes up with some plays that other players can't seem to come up with," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.
"The intercept was typical Munster - the opposition is getting tired and trying a risky play but, as soon as that happens, he seems to turn up in the right spot.
"He's obviously got this innate sense about what the right thing to do is at the right time."
In Pearce's defence, his team were on the back foot for much of the game thanks to 17 errors.
Melbourne led 12-0 at halftime with Bellamy disappointed they weren't further ahead given their dominance.
But the Knights' time in defence meant they ran out of juice in the second half with the Storm running in a further four tries.
Newcastle centre Hymel Hunt scored the visitors' solitary try after Queensland Origin fullback Kalyn Ponga created the opening in the 47th minute, but the rest of the half was one-way traffic.
"We didn't give ourselves a hope from the start of the game," Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown said. "We played the best side, the most professional side, and we showed at this stage of our development we weren't quite ready for it."
- with AAP