Coach Daley sticking with his Blues
ROOKIE New South Wales coach Laurie Daley says he will bring a pick-and-stick approach to the Origin selection table as the Blues attempt to finally arrest the seven-year winning streak of the Maroons juggernaut.
Daley stood shoulder to shoulder with the man standing in his way, Queensland mentor Mal Meninga, at a function in the Alexandra Headland surf club yesterday.
Although the NRL season kicked off only last night, he told the Daily most of his team planning had already been completed and not to expect many shocks when he named his side for the series opener.
He said he planned to stay loyal to the side he inherited from his predecessor, Ricky Stuart, and believed the Blues were not far off breaking Queensland's record winning run.
"The last couple of years we've been pretty close without winning," he said.
"Unless there's suspension, total loss of form or injuries - those sorts of things can obviously affect selections - at the moment I'm pretty comfortable with the guys who have been there over the last couple of years.
"They'll show me over the first 12 weeks whether they deserve to be playing Origin or not."
Several bookmakers, including Sportingbet and Centrebet, have installed the Blues as slight favourites for the 2013 series, taking Daley by surprise.
The Blues will host the first and third games, tipping the odds in their favour despite recent results and Daley's rookie status.
Despite the Blues' favouritism, Daley believed his team would still go in as underdogs.
He said there was no silver bullet in the Blues' arsenal and his approach was simple - prepare his side as well as he could with an emphasis on limiting the impact of Maroons superstars Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Johnathan Thurston.
"I don't think there's any secret," he said.
"I think you've just got to prepare well and play better than them on the night. You have to limit the impact their superstars have on the game, and do everything that every (NSW) coach has tried to do over the last seven years.
"Obviously, we haven't done it good enough.
"Look, they (the Maroons) are a special team, the greatest team in Origin history. The odds are stacked against us, but I think we've closed the gap and it's our job to find a way to improve - and we have to, because we know Queensland will."