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  1. #1
    Administrator DIEHARD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Brisbane / HK

    Default Ricky's Blue Print

    State of Origin: Ricky hopes prior planning will prevent poor performance for Blues

    THERE are still 131 days to go before State of Origin hostilities re-commence.

    But the Blues already know the score well ahead of the May 23 series opener in Melbourne.

    Gone are the chaotic days when players weren't measured for their kit until camp began, costing the coaching staff vital time to bond the team for battle.

    If Ricky Stuart's first year back in charge was about re-indoctrinating the Origin mindset, his second will concentrate on the finer details that prevented NSW from breaking Queensland's six-year stranglehold.

    That's why, with summer not even half expired, Stuart already knows what date his team will fly to Melbourne (May 16) and the type of accommodation that will suit their week-long stay (inner-city hotel as opposed to provincial castle).And it's also why he slashed the emerging player squad from 51 to 22 this week.

    At the inaugural introduction camp a year ago, Toyota Cup players with no first-grade experience were invited into the fold to get a taste of Stuart's blueprint.

    Or in the coach's words: "Inculturation". "That was my focus last year: to get the players in that camp mentally prepared for Origin.," Stuart said.

    "I like to call it a process of inculturation. It's about teaching them what it takes to be a State of Origin player.

    "This year's camp is going to be a little bit more focused on the different positions and what it takes physically to play at this level.

    "These players are the ones that I believe can be a part of the team either this year, or the series after."

    Stuart has selected eight props (Luke Douglas, Andrew Fifita, Tim Grant, Adam Woods, Dan Hunt, Trent Merrin, Darcy Lussick and Ryan James) and three playmakers (Terry Campese, James Maloney, and Josh McCrone).

    The fact only two positions account for exactly half the squad is a stark indication of where Stuart believes the state needs more depth.

    He will also persist with a core leadership group, but they won't attend next weekend's camp in Coogee and is expected to be somewhat different from last year's senior coterie.

    But one thing that won't change is Stuart's intense pre-occupation with avenging last year's disappoinment, which basically boiled down to a 20-minute lapse in the decider's first half.

    "It doesn't go away," he said.

    "And I know the players feel exactly the same way I do about that. There's a lot of hurt and disappointment because we know we were good enough to win."

    With that in mind, Stuart aims to keep the build-up to each game as consistent as possible from 2011.

    And apart from two changes in his medical team, the support staff - including Blues greats Andrew Johns, Glenn Lazurus, Trent Barrett and Steve Roach - will remain identical as well.

    Former physio Andrew Gray will resume full-time duties with St George Illawarra, while Dr Martin Raftery has taken up a lead role with the IRB.

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  2. #2
    Kangaroo Titanic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by DIEHARD View Post
    THERE are still 131 days to go before State of Origin embarrassment re-commences
    Sorry Sticky, throw it in now.
    Four reasons to escape to Queensland: Sun, Surf, Sand & the Titans.

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