Laurie Daley insists NSW can win even if Qld play as well as they did in game two Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
NRL.com: After that impressive win in the series opener, game two didn’t go to plan for NSW and the game was essentially over after 20 minutes. Are you worried that the confidence of the players has taken a hit from that?
Laurie Daley: I think the fact that we didn’t play up to our own expectations means we were disappointed in ourselves but as far as confidence goes, no. I think they still believe they can win. They know it is going to take plenty of hard work and we just need to make sure that our preparations are spot-on.
It has been reported that you gathered playmakers Robbie Farah, Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney together after game two in order to show them video of what they did right and build their confidence. Is that accurate?
No – that was just something that was always planned. We’ve had similar meetings with different groups of players. It was just that after that game we thought we needed to get the guys that drive our team around the paddock together, show them some video and get their thoughts on what we can improve on and what we did well. It was good.”
Given that it is now seven series wins in a row to Queensland and the Blues have lost series deciders the last two years running, is there more pressure on NSW to win next Wednesday than there is on the Maroons?
Not at all. Every Origin game brings pressure. For us, we’re the underdogs trying to beat a champion side. For them, it’s just as much pressure. Every Origin game brings pressure and this one is no different.
Have you changed much in your preparations for this game?
No, we haven’t done anything too different. We had always planned for it to be like this and one loss is certainly not going to affect the way we prepare. We just need to make sure we prepare away from the field as we did before game one and do it better than we did in game two.
How important is it to have a similarly perfect preparation for this game as the series opener?
Yeah, well game one was perfect. We had everyone training at that very first session and it all rolled on from there. Camp two and camp three have had their own little challenges. All the dramas that happened before game two have been well documented and now for game three... to have a number of our senior blokes not being able to train and in a bit of doubt isn’t ideal, but that’s what we have to contend with. At times you have to overcome these issues and that’s our challenge.
Jarryd Hayne has been ruled out and Paul Gallen and Greg Bird remain in doubt. How are those two progressing?
They’re alright. I don’t worry about them too much. Our medical staff won’t know until later in the week, so we’ll wait and see.
Two games into your State of Origin coaching career, what have you learned?
You learn something every day. I think you look at your own performance pretty closely and see what you can do better and where you can improve. For me it’s about understanding the players a lot more and knowing what they want and what I can give them. I’ve enjoyed that though, it’s been good.
Has it been what you expected?
Most definitely. Obviously there is a lot more scrutiny on you as a coach at this level compared to other levels. There is a lot more scrutiny on you at this level than there is on an NRL coach. It’s one of those things. We know that’s the case but we love it. It’s all about a challenge; it’s all about trying to get your team over the line. That’s what we enjoyed as players and now it’s what we enjoy as coaches.
Is this NSW’s time?
It’s never just your time. You’ve got to earn everything you get. It’s not just going to happen for us. Nothing will be handed to us on a platter.
If Queensland play as well as they did in game two, can NSW win?
Most definitely. It’s all about us playing as well as we possibly can. We can only control what we can control but as long as we do that I’ll be a happy coach.
Lastly Laurie, have you dared to dream?
I wouldn’t say I’ve been dreaming. I know it would be very special but again you try not to think about that. I try not to think that far ahead, or even as far as Wednesday. Each day the only thing I plan for is the next day. You can never look too far forward in Origin. It’s like at the start of the series, we only ever focused on game one, then once that was done it was about game two. Now that game two is over, game three is the most important one. That’s the way I look at it.