Blues Clues: Our confidence has grown
NSW VB Blues hooker Michael Ennis continues his exclusive NRL.com daily diary from within the Blues camp.
Sunday, June 5
Sunday, June 5
The NSW team for State of Origin II was named, and it was obviously good to hear my name in there again. While you are never 100 per cent confident that you will be picked in rep teams, I had had some conversations with Sticky (coach Ricky Stuart) during the week about areas to work on and some positive things.
After the disappointment of Saturday night's loss for our Bulldogs team against the Sea Eagles it was pretty hard to get myself up on Sunday. It was a pretty dominant display by Manly so I was pretty sore.
We had a recovery session at Homebush ... our bodies were all a little worse for wear. After that I took my wife Simone and our three kids to the Woolooware Yacht Club for lunch and we had a really nice afternoon there until the team was announced.
I packed my bags that night and started to get excited about going back into camp with the boys.
Monday, June 6
For most of the 10 days since the last Origin camp I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to do it again. We had such a great time in Origin I so there was a lot of excitement when we all checked in at Coogee after lunch.
The excitement of the camp seemed to dull the soreness and pain I was still feeling from the game on Saturday night against Manly.
Tim Mannah and I were back on again as room-mates so we gave each other a big man-hug. We have roomed together three or four times now which is great because we know each other's routine.
We spoke a little bit about the fact that we might both start this time rather than coming off the bench and we are looking forward to those few minutes in the opening exchange being out there together.
We had a quiet team dinner together at Coogee and watched the Monday night game between the Knights and Tigers. We were having a lot of fun until Akuila Uate was put on report. We were all a little sombre for awhile. He is a great guy to have around and we were hopeful he wouldn't be suspended. Fortunately the next day he found out it was a Grade 1 charge so he took the early plea which meant he was clear to play Origin II.
Tuesday, June 7
We trained at the Sydney Football Stadium. It's always a good feeling training at the big game venues like that. We spent most of the day there with some media commitments and weights in the afternoon.
That night we had an excellent dinner at Danny's Seafood, La Perouse, which was followed by a great night at the Charing Cross Hotel, where Shannon Noll and his band were playing.
It was good to sit around with all the new guys who have joined us for Game II. It's great to have the experienced guys like Luke Lewis, Kurt Gidley, Anthony Minichiello, Jarryd Hayne and Anthony Watmough on board, especially the way they are all playing for their clubs.
They have all been successful at a high level and having them around fills the group with extra confidence, that we have so much quality in our team.
With training this time we have had to spend less time educating everyone on how we want to play, so we are certainly well ahead in our preparation now compared with this same time in Origin I.
Wednesday, June 8
We got to have a sleep in and a relaxing day before heading out to Harvey Norman at Blacktown for a promotion.
We were a bit early so a few of us went to Featherdale Farm for an hour - can't wait to take the kids there.
We spent about an hour and a half at Harvey Norman and had a huge response from the public which was great. Can't wait to play in front of the crowd of 85,000 next week at ANZ Stadium!
We had dinner at the hotel, a massage and stayed in after a long afternoon.
Thursday, June 9
We had breakfast at Coogee Surf Club with some people from Origin sponsor Harvey Norman, which was followed by a hard 90-minute field session at Coogee.
At lunch we were given some special homemade watermelon, pineapple and coconut juice courtesy of Will Hopate's grandmother. Apparently it's meant to bring us luck ... and the way Manly are playing, hopefully it will rub on us too.
Nineteen-year-old Will, the only debutant this time round, is excellent and slowly coming out of his shell. He is a credit to his parents - very polite, well-mannered and very disciplined.
While he has made a decision to follow his faith next year and not play footy, rugby league isn't going anywhere and I am sure there will always be a place for him back in the game.
Hopefully an experience like this will drive him to come back. He's a hell of a talent. I didn't realise how good he was until we played against him on Saturday night.
After lunch a group of us went to a promo for the Red Coss Donate For Your State Campaign.
Assistant coach Trent Barrett had to give blood (we can't in-season) and while he put on a brave face for the cameras, he was pretty rattled for a few hours after.
The other half of the group went to the Children's Hospital. We all joined up for dinner at a restaurant at Randwick then headed back to the hotel for massage and recovery time.
Friday, June 10
We had another solid session this morning before lunch and then packed some gear to break camp for 24 hours. Everyone is looking forward to going home.
Although new dad Mark Gasnier has probably enjoyed getting a little more seep while in camp, he is very excited to get home to see little boy Kalani.
Micthell Pearce is looking forward to getting home to his new pug dog called Alan, although he is not sure if he will still be there as he has been causing lots of grief for his girlfriend.
I am looking forward to taking my son to play footy tomorrow morning in the under 6s for De La Salle and then I'll take all three kids out for a few hours to give my wife Simone a little bit of time to herself.
We return to camp tomorrow afternoon and then the countdown begins till game day. From our efforts in the first game and the experienced players who have come into the side our confidence has grown. We certainly believe we are closing the gap, and with an even share of possession we can turn it around.