Creagh's road to redemption

The Late Mail: Special Origin edition of NRL News

New South Wales back-rower Ben Creagh says personal redemption will be his primary motivation as the Blues aim to avoid a series whitewash in the final State of Origin clash at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

Creagh, who made three handling errors and ran for just 37 metres, was one of a number of NSW players to gift Queensland the early glut of possession in Origin II that led to their match-winning 18-0 lead midway through the first half – the second time in as many games that the Maroons had built a match-winning lead before half-time.

But he promises there will be no repeat performance in Game Three with state pride on the line.

“I haven’t been too happy with how I’ve played,” Creagh told NRL.com. “Last game I was really disappointed with how I performed.

“I didn’t play how I usually play – it was very, very poor.

“Hopefully I can fix that up this week.”

Asked what areas in particular he was unhappy with, Creagh replied: “Throwing some loose balls and dropping some passes – I was just generally unhappy with my attack all around.”

Creagh wasn’t alone in Game Two, the Blues making a total of 14 errors between them with four other players – David Williams, Glenn Stewart, Jarryd Hayne and Luke O’Donnell – making two or more errors each as the home side fumbled its way to a fourth consecutive series loss.

Their 18-0 deficit after just 23 minutes came after they trailed 18-2 in Game One and essentially killed their chances before they had even warmed into the contest.

“You just can’t let a side get 18-0 ahead after 20 minutes and expect to come back,” Creagh said.

“That’s been the most disappointing thing the past two games.

“Our starts have been really killing us.

“They’ve been 18 points ahead in both games and it’s hard to come back in Origin footy and put pressure on them.

“There has been a lot of talk and a lot of video about how we can rectify that.”

NSW coach Craig Bellamy was keen to initiate a youth policy this series but the magnitude of the side’s failures has seen wholesale changes with a record 30 players used.

Pride aside, Creagh admitted he was lucky to have survived the cull after debuting in Game One and said it was important to show his true colours in Game Three if he hoped to enjoy a lengthy career in the sky blue jersey.

“There is a fair bit for us to prove now and the guys that have been there for three games now don’t want to lose three games in a row.

“But we’re the only ones that can make sure that doesn’t happen.

“I’d love to be there over the coming years and hopefully with a good performance and some good club performances over the next couple of years I can do that.

“It will definitely help if we have a win in the third Origin though.”

The Blues have reverted back to experience for Game Three with Brett Kimmorley partnering Trent Barrett for the first time since 2005.

It’s a long way from the Peter Wallace-Terry Campese pairing from Game One, but Creagh said he was looking forward to playing alongside the veteran playmakers.

“In any team it takes time for the key positions to gel well but I’ve found it pretty good this time around,” he said.

“We had a bit more structure in attack with ‘Baz’ there last game and now you throw ‘Noddy’ in too – they are two very experienced guys there.
 
“They have a lot of rep games and finals games between them.

“They have brought a lot of fresh ideas to the side and a lot of stability as well.”