Inside Word: Players pride themselves on backing up
There has been a lot of talk about where best to fit Origin into the schedule for the least disruptions to teams and to prevent burnout or injury to players.
I don't mind the idea of Monday night Origin, but I don't think putting byes in the schedule is the answer.
As a player I always enjoyed the challenge of backing up from Origin for my club team. I know the Broncos have experimented with resting some players like Darren Lockyer, but he is a special case. He's 34 and at the end of his career; and I am sure if he felt he could have played he would have.
Personally, I didn't have a problem with it. Even though it did take its toll physically, most players pride themselves on backing up.
It sets a good example for the youngers players when you do. It's something everyone has always done since Origin started. It's tradition.
Backing up is also about respect for your club team. They were the ones who helped you get in there. It is only fitting to repay them and go back and play.
All the good Origin players before us did it. Queensland and Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston is a great modern-day example ... he gets Man of the Match nearly every game he plays for the Cowboys after Origin. It's a credit to him.
Most coaches would include the Origin period in their win-loss calcualtions for the season and would be happy to come away with three wins from five or six games. Having a bye to accommodate Origin would be too much of an interruption, especially if a side is gaining momentum.
Speaking of momentum, the groundswell of support behind the NSW VB Blues for Game II is fantastic. It looks like we will have a sell-out crowd of over 80,000 at ANZ Stadium, which will produce an incredible atmosphere.
It is certainly one of the areas off the field that the Blues could improve in to match the fanataticism of the Queensland supporters.
I think Ricky Stuart has done a lot to encourage public and media support of the team.
There has even been talk of erecting a statue of a NSW Origin legend at ANZ Stadium to rival the 'King' Wally Lewis statue at Suncorp Stadium and the soon to be erected Darren Lockyer statue.
If I was to choose which player it should be for NSW, I would go for Steve Mortimer, who was the first Origin-winning captain for NSW - in the famous pose where he was on his knees looking up to the sky after the victory - or Brad Fittler, the Blues' most capped Origin player.
They are both very well respected for what they have done for State of Origin in New south Wales.
I have no doubt we will give the crowd plenty to cheer about in Game II after our first performance.
As assistant coach of the Blues, I am not involved in the selection of the team, however I would expect maybe two to three changes to the line-up based around players who are injured now (like Brett Morris) or players who were not considered the first time because they were injured (like Kurt Gidley or Luke Lewis).
We have to fix a few things but we can talke a lot of positives into the next game ... and by not making wholesale changes to the team, we can get straight into building on what we did last time when we go into camp again next week.