Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

It Is Not over Yet, Blues; Premature Celebrating May Come Back to Haunt NSW

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

It Is Not over Yet, Blues; Premature Celebrating May Come Back to Haunt NSW

Article excerpt

ONE of the final scenes from Origin II Co as seen by Channel 9 viewers Co was Blues coach Ricky Stuart sitting with his players in the dressing room, calmly winding them down from their brilliant win.

But Ricky might have been a little late.

Fifteen minutes earlier his players had been whooping it up with their ground-record fans, the high-fiving and backslapping suggesting the series was over. It was, for all intents and purposes, a premature celebration.

I don't want to be a party pooper, and I can understand the players being ecstatic after edging the series to a decider, but the job is far from done.

The Blues were the better team on Wednesday night and deserved to win. The effort by Stuart to get them to the level at which they played was absolutely superb.

But where does the coach go from this point?

Is there something left in the Blues' tank of passion? Does the emotional rollercoaster they rode in to game two have another gear?

From my experience of being around footy teams for a while the post-game hoopla from the Blues Co after winning a game, not a series Co will be firmly embedded in the minds of the Maroons when they go in to camp for the decider.

And emotion goes only so far.

What is unfair?

SURELY Stuart was jesting when he requested his Blues Origin players to abandon their club duties two rounds before the decider on July 6.

As it stands, nine of the 10 clubs drawn to play in round 17, the week preceding the decider, will be without their elite players. But now Stuart wants his men to miss the week before as well, citing the fact that the Dragons-Sea Eagles game on Monday night, June 27, is an unfair imposition on his Origin team.

C[pounds sterling]Because of that game I will have seven or eight players miss a couple of training sessions, and that is unfair,C[yen] he complained.

The table-topping Dragons were forced to play without six Origin players in round 14 and were whopped by the last-placed Titans. They will have to do the same against the Knights in round 17, so I'm sure Wayne Bennett would be only too happy to grant Stuart his wish. …

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