Daly Cherry-Evans is confident Queensland can "right the wrongs" of Origin I with an inspired Dane Gagai set to lead the Maroons fightback at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
The Manly veteran faces his toughest moment as captain - just seven months after leading the Maroons to victory in the unwinnable series he now faces the ignominy of handing back the shield without leaving his state.
"Look, to me they’re all big games all big challenges," Cherry-Evans said.
"I guess coming into the series we were pretty optimistic we were going to be able to win it.
"It hasn’t started off the way we planned to and we’re going to have to do it the hard way, but my belief hasn’t wavered.
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"We’ve got a big ask this Sunday because they’ve got the shield right in front of them, they would feel as though it is right there, but the motivation for us to still win this series is still really really high.
"It’s hard to weigh up in the scale of things but it is a big challenge for sure."
Cherry-Evans said the Maroons had enjoyed a far better preparation than Origin I when Gagai missed their most important training sessions due to a three-day visit to hospital to treat a serious case of tonsillitis.
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"It’s been great to have Gags here for the full week. He has been a massive part of the Queensland side for a few years now," Cherry-Evans said.
"We did miss him last [game] at training for sure, he holds a fair few leadership qualities. He is a voice that is very familiar amongst the playing group and again he admitted it’s not ideal going to hospital in your preparation but that’s just the way it was.
"Dane is super ready to make up for it. I don’t think Dane played too poorly but our whole team played pretty badly to be fair so I’m sure we’ve all got that motivation to play better this game.
"At the Maroons level he has always been pretty consistent. Dane is one of my favourite players I love playing alongside him and we get a chance to hopefully right some wrongs on Sunday."