Wiser Daley ready for new Blues campaign
After his first full year coaching NSW, Origin coach Laurie Daley admits he underestimated the emotional toll the representative season would have on him.
"I didn't realise how much it'd take out of you," Daley said. "I can only marvel and sit back and applaud guys that used to do both club and Origin. I didn't realise the emotional toll taken."
The State of Origin series once again reached record levels in TV ratings and crowds this year as Queensland rolled their winning streak to an unprecedented eighth series.
But the Origin strain on players and coaches alike, as well as its impact on the premiership, continues to provide debate on whether the current three-month format should be shortened. And while the NRL is currently looking at all avenues to address the issue, Daley said he liked the format as is.
"At the moment we're really not sure what the time frame will be in terms of how many weeks apart," he said. "At the moment we're in a holding pattern [in our plans] and once we know the details, then we can start to lock in a few things but at this stage, whatever happens, happens.
"I don't know whether it's going to be two weeks or a week, back-to-back. It'll be interesting."
Daley was also pointed on his thoughts on halfback Mitchell Pearce, who was criticised heavily in the aftermath of this year's series loss to Queensland. The Roosters halfback, along with halves partner James Maloney, recovered to steer their side to a premiership win.
"I thought it was a terrific thing for those guys that they were able to silence a few people and play well in big games," Daley said.
"They played well in parts of Origin and in particular in Game One they were great. They tried their hardest in all Origins. We just didn't execute as well as what we could've. But just for their confidence, knowing they've won a big game and played really well at the back end of the year is a testament to their character, because they certainly copped a lot from a lot of people.
"And no one likes to be criticised, and unfairly I thought, but they responded in the best possible way."
Daley said Pearce's strong finish to the season meant he had to be considered favourite for the job in 2014.
"He's certainly done nothing wrong. At the back end of the year he was the best halfback for NSW so if he had a good start of the season I can see no reason why he won't be there again," he said. "But like everything, we'll see how it all unfolds. He's a good, tough kid. We're starting to create a bit of depth in that position so it'll be good to see how they start the year off."