NSW coach Laurie Daley has finally spoken about his side's State of Origin demise, claiming he felt betrayed by the boozy exploits of star players Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson.

Daley also admitted to feeling "haunted" by the series loss and revealed his side was "scarred" after the late and heartbreaking game two loss in Sydney.

"We didn't play our best football and that's my responsibility. I have to take control of that and it's something that haunts me because I have to find out why," Daley said.

Dugan and Ferguson attracted widespread criticism for a long drinking session at Lennox Head on the Friday before game three.

 

Dugan and Ferguson were heavily criticised for drinking the Frday before the game.
Dugan and Ferguson were heavily criticised for drinking the Frday before the game.

Speaking on Fox Sports' NRL360, Daley said the pair didn't tell team management they were planning a booze binge.

"The obvious one of 'Duges' and 'Fergy' drinking on the Friday. Did they do anything wrong in terms of legally, no they didn't," Daley said.

"Did we know they were going down there to have a few beers? No we didn't. Yes, we knew they were going to Lennox Head to meet up with a mate.

"Obviously we have done something wrong to allow them to think they could go down there and have a few beers.

"We all admit, it's not a great look. I'm sure if they had asked me if they could have a few beers, I would have said no. But that wasn't the case.

"But, at the end of the day, both of those guys will agree, on reflection, that it wasn't a good look. It's something we will address and need to address."

NRL Blues coach Laurie Daly talks at a press conference at Sydney airport after game three.
NRL Blues coach Laurie Daly talks at a press conference at Sydney airport after game three. News Corp Australia

Daley said he found out about the pair's drinking session after game three.

"I found out the Thursday after the game. No one had an idea of what happened," Daley said. "They trained strongly the next day. I've looked at their GPS data and there's no indication to suggest they trained poorly. In fact, they trained quite strongly."

Daley even suggested NSW teammates were unaware that Dugan and Ferguson had left camp to drink.

"Not the guys I had spoken to," Daley said. "They did tell us they were going to Lennox Head. That was okay because some guys went to Byron, others went to the Gold Coast, some played golf, some stayed around the hotel.

"In terms of did we know they would go down and have a few beers? No, we didn't. Did they do anything wrong? No, they didn't. Is it a good look for us? No, it's not.

"People will question whether we gave ourselves the best chance to win game three.

"But I'm not making anyone a scapegoat because I need to look at myself and look at what we've done to suggest these players can go down there and do that. I take full responsibility for that."

 

NSW's Andrew Fifita and NSW's David Klemmer during NSW State of Origin training. Picture: Brett Costello
NSW's Andrew Fifita and NSW's David Klemmer during NSW State of Origin training. Picture: Brett Costello

Daley said the second-half capitulation in game two in Sydney shattered the Blues.

"Game three the cream rose to the top,'' Daley said.

"Looking back now I think we were more scarred than I thought we were. In that dressing shed that was a worse feeling after game two than it was after game three on reflection. Something happened after that game and I think we lost a bit of confidence out of that performance.''

The NSWRL are reviewing the series loss.

Daley was also questioned about Andrew Fifita and David Klemmer both thought they would be starting game three, even though Klemmer was named on the bench.

"I told David he was starting and then I had a conversation with Andrew - not about starting on the bench - it was another conversation that will remain private - and after that conversation, I knew I needed Andrew to start," Daley said.

"I couldn't afford to have him on the interchange bench. Andrew was disappointed I didn't allow him to speak to the media (in camp).

"There were a couple of other issues we discussed but no way did I say to Andrew that he would be starting on the bench.

"After that conversation I knew Andrew had to start and I went straight back to David and told him he was going to go back to the interchange bench."

Daley said one reason he didn't want Fifita conducting media interviews was that the big prop was grappling with a racism vilification issue.

Meanwhile Daley said he hadn't been offered another contract just yet but did indicate he would accept the job if it was offered.

"Everyone is under the pump," he said.

He added: "Culture is the topical word. There are things there we could have done a lot better. Me being in charge, I have to accept full responsibility for that.

"I think we have a really good culture but in any culture there is always the chance something can go wrong. We need to do things a lot better. We all need a reality check.

"We have beaten Queensland before under my watch and we'll do it again if I'm there.

News Corp Australia

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