Murray's message to Blues: 'Qld is too good'
Former New South Wales coach Graham Murray has urged Blues selectors not to panic when they sit down to pick the side for Game Two this Monday, despite being on the verge of an unprecedented fourth consecutive State of Origin series loss.<br><br>Rumours abound that wholesale changes are on the cards next week, with five-eighth Terry Campese under most pressure following his quiet debut outing in Melbourne last week.<br><br>The Blues are desperate to reverse their 28-18 opening game loss but Murray said it’s time they accept that Queensland may just be too good, advising selectors to plan for the future by giving their current combinations time to settle.<br><br>“I don’t know if there is any answer other than settling on something and sticking with it,” Murray told NRL.com today.<br><br>“I mean, they (NSW) tried really hard in Game One but Smith, Thurston, Lockyer and Slater – it doesn’t matter who you put around them, they’re just too good. <br><br>“When you look at the NSW 1, 6, 7 and 9, they’ve never played together. <br><br>“It just takes time. <br><br>“The combinations are only going to get better. <br><br>“There is going to be some hardship along the way, but chopping and changing is not always the best answer. <br><br>“And they’re not too far off – the last game was a good contest towards the end.”<br><br>Murray knows first-hand just how difficult it is to overcome the current Queensland side, having coached NSW to series losses in 2006 and 2007 as Mal Meninga’s men began to hit their stride.<br><br>The NSWRL responded by sacking the then Cowboys coach and replacing him with Craig Bellamy, but even with a premiership in 2007 and inside information on Storm trio Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Greg Inglis, the Melbourne mentor has so far been unable to crack the code.<br><br>“But those blokes are the best in the world in their positions,” Murray said of Queensland’s key men. <br><br>“The rest of the team could just be padded – it wouldn’t matter who you put around them – but as it is they happen to have Israel Folau and Greg Inglis and Justin Hodges and Petero Civoniceva and Steve Price. <br><br>“It’s a fantastic side – the ingredients are all there. <br><br>“Dallas Johnson does the hard work, the props are endurance props that get over the advantage line, the back-rowers can do a bit and then (Michael) Crocker comes on and stirs everyone up. <br><br>“It’s a good balance but the 1, 6, 7 and 9 are unbeatable.”<br><br>Not all is lost for the Blues, though.<br><br>Murray likened the current Queensland squad to the dominant NSW side that was on the verge of winning four series in a row in 2006 before the Maroons turned the tide.<br><br>“It goes in waves,” Murray said.<br><br>“It’s similar to when Andrew Johns was dominant for NSW and they had Danny Buderus, Brad Fittler, Ben Kennedy and blokes like that. <br><br>“It just seemed that Queensland had no answer to that structure and then all of a sudden the pendulum changed. <br><br>“It swung around the other way and now NSW are facing it. <br><br>“I was actually talking to (former Queensland coach) Michael Hagan the other day and he was saying that the first year he coached them (2004) he had a very, very young Thurston. <br><br>“Back then he was behind Johns and it was a learning process for him, but now it has all changed… and look at him now.”<br><br><br><b>Late news:</b><br>• Queensland prop Steven Price will play for the Warriors against Newcastle tonight after spending much of the week in quarantine.<br>• Both the Roosters and Titans face injury concerns ahead of tomorrow night’s clash, with Willie Mason ruled out for the home side with a knee injury while Luke Bailey and Mat Rogers will both miss out for visitors.<br>• Melbourne forward Sika Manu is still in quarantine and has stayed behind as the Storm travel to Perth for tomorrow night’s clash with South Sydney.<br>