NSW assistant coach Trent Barrett has unveiled the blueprint that NSW will be using to try and end Queensland’s dominance when they clash at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night.
The game plan revolves around key areas: controlling the speed of the game, finding grass with every kick and getting Todd Carney involved.
It is simple on paper, but much harder to execute against a champion Queensland outfit.
“We had our chance to win [in game one]” Barrett told NRL.com.
“It was pretty well documented some of the decisions that did go against us, but I don’t think that’s main reason why we still lost the game.
“I think there are still a few things in our game that we need to fix, a few unforced errors, a little bit of discipline here and there.”
While the Blues were brave in game one, it was ultimately their mistakes which cost them any chance of winning. Barrett believes the Blues have to be close to perfect to beat the Maroons.
The game plan is based around concentration and attention to detail. Any little mistake or lapse in judgement is amplified in Origin football.
Small errors cost the Blues in Melbourne and Barrett admits the flow-on effect was damaging.
“Particularly with your field possession and particularly with the momentum of the game,” he said.
“There were a few things when we were well on top, particularly in the first 22 minutes before Michael Jennings got sin binned.
“Ball control is just so important and our kicking game. Not finding touch on kicks, unforced errors at dummy half, those sorts of things we can control and we’ve just got to fix them.”
Find grass with every kick
“Our kicking game is really important,” Barrett said.
“It’s hard to kick against Billy Slater; he’s a great player. We need to find the grass as much as we can and our attacking kicks need to be better.
“More than likely it will be wet and slippery on Wednesday night out at Homebush, it normally is, so we’ve got to kick well and just start the game really well and give ourselves a chance.”
Get Todd Carney more involved in the game
After a quiet performance from NSW five-eighth Todd Carney during the series opener, the question was raised whether the young star is up to the Origin challenge. There is no denying his talent, but Carney needs to prove he is mentally tough enough for rugby league's biggest stage.
Barrett is expecting Carney to come out firing in Sydney and repay the faith the NSW selectors and team have put in him. The challenge for the Blues is getting him more actively involved in the game.
“He came out and said he was very nervous and we knew that, and that’s understandable for his first game,” Barrett said.
“We all know how good a player Todd is. He said to me after the game he didn’t realise how much different Origin is, and I think he’ll be better for the run and I’m expecting him to play really well.”
The NSW camp is confident their combinations will be much better in game two. They believe the training sessions have gone much smoother and that Robbie Farah, Carney, Mitchell Pearce and Brett Stewart are linking together well.
“It’s really important and all we can do is prepare as best we can,” Barrett said.
“They are a lot more comfortable with each other so that’s going to help, but there is still a big job to do.”
That big job is ultimately playing a complete game for 80 minutes. Being mentally tough for the entire game and not switching off. When the game is on the line and under intense pressure, this is where Origin has always been won.
“We can’t just play in spurts; we need to play 80 minutes of footy.”
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