Maloney backs Pearce for Origin decider

Mitchell Pearce (r) could be set for a NSW Origin recall after Nathan Cleary's ankle injury. (AAP)

NSW are set to turn to Mitchell Pearce for the State of Origin decider after Nathan Cleary went down with an ankle injury on Sunday.

Mitchell Pearce is expected to get a State of Origin SOS as NSW sweat on the fitness of halfback Nathan Cleary ahead of their series-deciding clash with Queensland on July 10.

Cleary suffered a suspected syndesmosis ankle injury in Sunday's 38-6 thumping of the Maroons in Perth on Sunday.

The result levelled the series at 1-1, and handed NSW all the momentum heading into the decider in Sydney.

But Cleary's injury put a dampener on NSW's win.

Cleary played under duress for the final 10 minutes of the first half after an awkward tackle, and failed to take the field in the second half.

The 21-year-old was in a moon boot after the match, with scans to determine the extent of the damage.

With just 16 days until game three, Cleary faces a monumental task to prove his fitness.

His possible absence for game three would almost certainly bring former Blues No.7 Pearce back into contention.

Pearce ruled himself out of Sunday's game because of a thigh injury, but will have the chance to become an Origin hero if Cleary doesn't come up for the decider.

NSW centre Tom Trbojevic scored three tries in Sunday's rout, while five-eighth James Maloney set up two tries, kicked five goals, and also shifted to halfback once Cleary went down.

"Tommy was great. He's just a superstar," Fittler said.

"And James got us the win. He just steered us around.

"I didn't have to talk at half time because he was talking. He's just a winner. He just finds a way to win."

Fittler said he never expected Sunday's game to become such a rout.

"You never envisage something like that," Fittler said.

"Once we got ahead the (rainy) conditions really helped us, because we were very confident and the scoreline was in our favour."

Source AAP

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