The NSWRL gave Laurie Daley two nervous weeks before announcing that he would be offered a years leeway on his contract. He was initially rumoured to be up for two more years, but the final offer was for a 12-month extension and there are plenty of people who think he was lucky to receive even that much.
Fuel for the critics
It seems like assistant coach Matt Parish and other staff members won’t be returning for Origin 2018, and there are some outspoken critics who think Daley should be included in that number. Daley has won just one series from the five he has been in charge of, totalling six wins and nine losses out of those 15 games.
The series was looking like the Blues had it in the bag at the end of game one but after Queensland evened the score in game two, it seemed like NSW barely showed up in the decider. Potentially contributing to the loss was the surprising decision not to change the line-up at all throughout the three games – a tactic that hadn’t been employed for 11 years. This year’s loss to Queensland meant the Blues dropped their 11th series in 12 years.
Before this Origin season had started, it looked like Daley would leave, regardless of the outcome. Veteran rugby league correspondent James Hooper was one of the many who were confused at his decision to stay.
“It’s fascinating because prior to the series, Laurie spoke at a sports luncheon and essentially he suggested that this was going to be his farewell swan song as the coach, as it was his fifth year at the helm. But then after that brilliant performance in game one, he started to have some second thoughts.”
Regardless of the final result, he seems to have the backing of the NSWRL head honchos while Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is also amongst his supporters.
“I know a lot about Laurie,” Meninga said, “No-one is more passionate, committed or loyal in the Blues system.”
The need for change
Serious changes will have to be made if the Blues will have any hope of regaining their pride and the Origin shield – and changing up some of the management staff is just the beginning. Daley has mentioned that NSW will have to get more serious about players’ infringements, especially with incidents involving alcohol and breaking curfew. The Blues will also look for alternative accommodation in Sydney as their rooms in the casino weren’t ideal for a side with a reputation for lax discipline.
The Blues need someone who can bring Origin pride back to New South Wales and instill the honour of wearing the blue jersey back into the players. Daley has had his chances, five of them to be exact. Though he has been battling one of the best teams in Origin history, the impressive performance in game one shows the Blues can win, while the other two matches showed they still can’t take it home. They haven’t learned from their mistakes.
Whether he is the man to take New South Wales to their second Origin win in 12 years remains to be seen. His decision to try again after repeated failure will definitely put him in the public spotlight and have fans asking serious questions of the NSWRL management if they fail to bring the shield home in 2018.
Do you think Daley should have been given another chance? Who is your pick to lead the Blues to victory? Let us know in the comments below.
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