DANIEL Saifiti has warned Queensland that he can play even better than he did in game one as NSW strive to clinch the State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
Saifiti dominated the Maroons in the Blues' 50-6 series-opening demolition in Townsville, making 142 attacking metres, 22 tackles and scoring the first try of his six-game Origin career.
The towering prop has followed it up with similarly influential performances for Newcastle against South Sydney and the Warriors and would appear to be in the best form of his career leading into Origin II.
Full of confidence, the 25-year-old said he could "definitely" improve on his series-opening display.
"In game one, I was happy with my first half but then I probably let the scoreline get the better of me a bit," Saifiti told the Newcastle Herald. "I made a couple of errors, but fortunately the boys had my back. I've learned from that.
"I think the Origin arena suits the way I play, and I'll be looking to make a bigger impact up there at Suncorp."
After debuting for NSW when he received a shock call-up in 2019, Saifiti said he now felt he belongs in the game's ultimate arena.
"My first series, we won it, but I felt a bit like a passenger," he said.
"Last year I was happy with how I played, but obviously we lost the decider, so that was really disappointing.
"This year I feel like it's a bit different and I want to be a leader in our forward pack.
"It'll be massive if we can get it done at Suncorp."
A hip injury to Manly's Jake Trbojevic means Saifiti will have a new engine-room partner on Sunday night.
Parramatta's Junior Paulo has been named to start alongside Saifiti up front.
It would be no surprise, however, if NSW coach Brad Fittler promoted Brisbane's Payne Haas to the starting line-up.
Haas and Saifiti were the first-choice front-rowers in all three games last year.
Saifiti was expecting a far tougher assignment in game two against a Queensland team boosted by the return of Josh Papalii from suspension.
Papalii is a veteran of 18 Origins and five series wins.
In addition, Saifiti acknowledged the impact on Queensland in game one when Melbourne's Christian Welch suffered a concussion in the 12th minute and was unable to return.
"People probably overlook Christian Welch getting injured in the first 10 minutes," Saifiti said.
"He's their enforcer, so he'll make a difference.
"They'll also have Papalii coming back, so we're going to have a big job against those two in the middle."
Saifiti headed to Sydney immediately after Saturday's 10-6 win against the Warriors to join his NSW teammates, who flew to Kingscliff on Monday to start their preparations.
"Hopefully we have a good week in camp, train well and ice the series up there," he said.
"There would be no better feeling than to wrap it all up in game two, especially seeing as the first two games are in Queensland."
Meanwhile, Knights forward Lachlan Fitzgibbon has taken the early guilty plea for a high tackle against the Warriors and accepted a $1700 fine.