Tag Archives: greg bird

NSW Blues Will Never Learn

I don’t think the NSW Blues officials will ever learn. How many times have they been told by commentators, the media and astute fans that sticking by the same group of players might just bring improved results?

Haven’t seen the NSW Origin side lineup yet? Check the bottom of this article for the full team.

Queensland have been laughing at NSW for years now. They’ve known for decades that sticking by the same group of blokes brings trust, combinations and success.

Throwing a player an Origin jumper, hoping he will perform with a group of guys he hardly knows and then turfing him out to dry a few weeks later is stupidity. It not only breaks the spirit of the player, it removes all trust from the playing group – who think they are playing for their lives in one single match.

It effectively makes every single NSW Origin game a Grand Final – hence, extremely talented club footballers do silly, nervous things in NSW’s case.

NSW need to select the best team available and state to that team, “We will stick with you for this 3 Game series, injuries and suspension permitting.”

You immediately breed confidence, support and give yourself a chance of winning.

NSW have selected a good team for Origin 3. But, the Blues also had very capable teams in Game 1 and Game 2.

Poor Brett Kimmorley was made a scapegoat in Game 1. Noddy is an experienced, icecool performer who hardley put a foot wrong in the first game.

He is told that NSW want fresh, younger legs and he wouldn’t be selected for Game 2. Thats fair enough, I’m sure even Noddy would cop that on the chin.

But then, the NSW selectors turn around and pick Trent Barrett in the halves? Again, Barrett is a fine player and doesn’t look out of place in Origin – but ummm, isn’t he a veteran around the same age as Noddy?

This screams of disrespect. Not only will Noddy feel cheated, but Barrett too would be concious of the selectors knifing him in the back too if things went bad.

The revolving door policy NSW have used seemingly forever – is now killing them.

I wish all the best to the 4 new debutants in the NSW Blues side. But please, someone take a stand and confirm the playing group and even elements of the coaching group can remain in place.

While it’s highly likely Craig Bellamy won’t be a part of the NSW Origin group moving forward, achieving some kind of familiarity within the group is critically important. This is where Queensland have leapt so far ahead, from the coach right down to the officials – they are a unit.

NSW throw in a varied group of talented people and hope within a few weeks – the whole unit can gel. The pressure has mounted with every series loss and it’s simply got too much for a new, raw group of individuals and officials to handle.

The one positive it seems is that NSW have stuck with the key men in positions, 1,6,7 and 9. Hayne, Barrett, Pearce and Ennis need to form the core of the Blues moving forward.

Barrett is the exception here, the veteran is of course moving towards the end of his career. However, injury permitting – he should be there until he walks away now.

By sticking with this group – NSW can build the spine of a team, who can help develop a style and gameplan with better understanding of each other. With every minute they play together, they’ll get better and better as a team.

The other ingredient is the ‘attacking’ element. In the past few years, NSW have always picked a side that favoured defence – attempting to thwart Inglis, Folau and Slater in the Queensland backline.

We need to start attacking. Be the hunter, instead of the hunted.

By picking Michael Jennings and Michael Gordon – the NSW outfit has the chance to put on some points. Ok, both guys might not be text book defenders – but given recent Blues performances, they can’t do much worse.

Jennings has to remain in the NSW outfit moving forward. The guy is a superstar and can score points at will. The same goes for Brett Morris, a natural flier – they both need to form the future of this NSW State of Origin outfit.

Form has demanded Michael Gordon be selected and he deserves a shot.

Now, what about the ‘enforcer’ component?

NSW fans screamed for some hardmen to come into the side and deal with bullies like Carl Webb and Sam Thaiday.

While Webb might be gone, there is no question that NSW need someone in their ranks to dish the dirt and deal with standover men like Thaiday.

While Luke O’Donnell and Paul Gallen copped flack for their heavy-handed tactics in Game 2, few people commented on the nasty role of Thaiday.

The big Queensland forward, who has probably been the best forward for 2010 – was at his aggressive, brutal best.

He threw several punches that connected with O’Donnell, albeit from a unsighted ‘sniping’ position – but he also got involved in every scuffle and was willing to ‘turn it on’ should he need to.

While Luke O’Donnell may have blown his chances, the selection of the bash brothers Paul Gallen and Greg Bird is mandatory.

While Gallen seemingly always gives up a bucketload of penalties, his tag as the ‘grubbiest man in League’ does suit the State of Origin style. Gallen is a tough, no nonsense forward who can handle the hits that come his way – along with standing by his teammates in a storm.

Bird too will go down fighting, and that’s what NSW need.

In the front row, NSW have two young guns that need to remain in the side for the future. Tom Learoyd and Tim Mannah are two seriously big boppers that know exactly what they are doing. Kade Snowden too looks highly likely.

Please give these guys a chance. Don’t throw them to the scrapheap.

If the NSW selectors and officials can remain strong and refuse to buckle, who knows one day we might actually win an Origin series.

NSW team for Origin III

Jarryd Hayne, Brett Morris, Michael Jennings, Beau Scott, Michael Gordon, Trent Barrett (c), Mitchell Pearce, Jason King, Michael Ennis, Kade Snowden, Luke Lewis, Paul Gallen, Greg Bird. Interchange: Kurt Gidley, Tom Learoyd- Lahrs, Tim Mannah, Anthony Watmough.