Daley fears Queensland will strangle the Origin life out of NSW

Storm trooper: Tim Glasby (right) celebrates a Storm try. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Storm trooper: Tim Glasby (right) celebrates a Storm try. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

NSW coach Laurie Daley's biggest fear heading into Origin II isn't complacency within his own side.

It isn't a reconstructed Queensland team that welcomes back Immortals-in-waiting in Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston.

It isn't even the inflammatory back page of The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday that slammed Maroons rookie Tim Glasby as an “NRL nobody” – a story that incensed NSW's players and coaching staff as much as Queensland's.

No, it's a slow game on a dewy ANZ Stadium in the middle of winter in which Queensland's forwards – especially Glasby – will strangle the life out of a Blues side that scored five tries to one in Origin I.

“That's my concern,” Daley said on Tuesday. “The referees did a good job in game one. My fear has always been that it will be a slow game. We want a fast game as we've always wanted and want it to flow.”

The selection of Glasby on the bench has revealed Queensland's hand in many respects, even if he won't play a stack of minutes.

The Maroons were trampled in the middle in game one, allowing the Blues to show attacking flair not seen from a NSW side in more than a decade.

While confident Blues fans gobbled up the easy storyline this week about Queensland making seven changes, abandoning their so-called pick-and-stick policy, it seemingly ignored the forwards who were brought in and who were dumped.

Jarrod Wallace - who on Tuesday night escaped a one-week ban after being cleared by the NRL judiciary for a shoulder charge - Coen Hess and Gavin Cooper give them more youth and firepower.

Then there's Glasby.

Queenslander: Tim Glasby. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Queenslander: Tim Glasby. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

When it comes to suffocating the opposition's attack, nobody does it better than the Storm. He's exactly the unfashionable forward the Storm adore: big body in the middle, no mistakes, slows down the ruck with refined techniques within the letter of the law.

Daley has little doubt that Queensland and Storm captain Cameron Smith got in coach Kevin Walter's ear and told him Glasby could do a job for them in Sydney on June 21 in a match they must win to salvage the series.

“I think Cameron would've endorsed him for sure,” Daley said. “Our guys know he's a good player. While people mightn't know him down here, our players know how good he is.

“He'll bring experience, no errors, the ability to make sure the middle is right. And he'll get through his work. He will make sure that nobody gets through him, he'll make his carries, land on his front, he'll just do everything well. All their players are well skilled and schooled and he knows his role, and then it will allow [Cooper] Cronk, Thurston, Smith, Slater to take control.

“He's keeping Jordan McLean out of the starting side for Melbourne. That's how highly [Storm coach] Craig Bellamy thinks of him. Melbourne are leading the competition.”

The Blues held their open media session in the Sky Terrace at The Star on Tuesday afternoon with a slow procession of players ambling out for a pack of Sydney reporters who can smell a rare series victory.

For mine, the Maroons ambush is well and truly on. In the past few days, both Daley and captain Boyd Cordner have talked about “complacency”.

Some see Queensland's raft of changes as a sign of panic. The alternative view is that the Queenslanders have been prepared to pull the trigger and make hard decisions that NSW – and this includes Daley – have been reluctant to make in the past.

For years, as the Blues lost series after series, frustrated Blues supporters wanted change only for NSW to stay loyal to a defeated team.

The Telegraph's back page on Tuesday is typical of the fun the News Corp tabloid engages in with its sister paper in Brisbane, The Courier-Mail, at this time of year – but there was certainly a feeling on both sides of the Tweed that this one crossed a line.

The Maroons were reportedly furious. So, too, the Storm. NSW was also angry because they know it helps Queensland genuinely establish underdog status for the first time in a decade.

Asked about the story, Daley said: “It doesn't help. That certainly wasn't coming from us. It's not coming from the NSW players. You can't control what people say, but what I want people to know is that we know he's a very good player and we'll give him plenty of respect.”

Would the Queenslanders feed off it?

“They might if the knew it was coming from us,” Daley said.

“People have to remember they've got four of the all time greats in their team. Our players have to be aware of what will happen: the team will come down here is better than the team for game one.”


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