Blues not fearful of Origin unknowns
New South Wales coach Laurie Daley will send 11 players with next to no experience at Suncorp Stadium into the cauldron of Origin on Wednesday night but with the confidence that they are ready to embrace the occasion.
The last Blues team to visit Origin's most intimidating arena were decimated in a 52-6 record flogging and for the must-win Game Two on Wednesday night seven players will face a sea of some 50,000 Maroons for the very first time.
Five-eighth James Maloney is the only member of the NSW backline to have played a single Origin game in Brisbane while in the forwards debutants Jack Bird and Tyson Frizell have been handed Origin's toughest introduction.
Josh Jackson, Andrew Fifita and David Klemmer have each only played a solitary Origin game at Suncorp Stadium but Daley is hoping that his own experience as a 19-year-old in 1989 can help to prepare them for what lies ahead of them.
"It's the unknown, you just don't know," Daley admitted on the eve of Game Two.
"You try to talk to them about what may happen and ways to handle the noise and not be overawed but until they experience it you just don't know.
"It's hard to get a read on young guys that you haven't really had a lot to do with. All you can go on is what they have done so far and nothing seems to worry them.
"I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing but I'm sure they'll turn up ready to have a go and see what comes of it."
Conceding that he was picked to play for NSW before he was ready, Daley is ushering in a changing of the guard with five debutants in the first two games but says he wouldn't have pitched them into the furnace if he didn't know they could handle the heat.
"I was probably picked before I was ready and that's one of the reasons why now I'm real big on not putting people out there before I think they're ready because I don't want it to happen to them," said Daley, who is coaching NSW in a fourth series in 2016.
"I'd rather them be confident that they're ready than thinking they're ready and not being there. I wasn't ready and I played accordingly.
"They've all played in big games, except for Jack. They've all played for Australia, they've won grand finals, played semi-finals... Yes Suncorp is different but players these days don't seem to fear too much.
"They're going to be doing it tough at some stage no doubt but it's how they deal with when they get through that tough period.
"When that tough period comes that's when they've got to find something. If they can do that they'll come out the other side."
Daley is confident that despite only training there since Saturday that Dylan Walker will slot in seamlessly and reconnect with his former South Sydney teammate Adam Reynolds on the Blues' right edge but was cagey on how he would use Jack Bird off the bench.
"I'm not really sure what Jack's best position is but he's a footy player and that's what you want to see," said Daley.
"Just tell him to go and get involved. The instructions won't be confusing for him, it will be run hard and tackle hard.
"We'll enjoy an open game of footy, no stoppages, continuous game, that's what we're hoping for and hopefully we'll get that."