Saturday, 10 September 2016

An Open Letter To Laurie Daley (2016)

Dear Laurie,

With the first State of Origin game of 2016 just completed, I feel compelled to write to you directly, with a few pertinent questions, suggestions and one or two criticisms. Well, to be honest Laurie, the questions and suggestions will be thinly-veiled criticisms.

Firstly, Dylan Walker. Why? Surely, surely, you knew he provides no utility value and his form certainly did not warrant selection in this side. This was proven by you choosing to introduce him into the game with less than 10 minutes remaining. Please don’t do this again.

Secondly, what are you doing having a dig at the referees? The Blues had a glut of great field position, especially in the second half, but the non-existent game-plans in the attacking zone, that we have now become accustomed to since you took over in 2013, prevented us from scoring a single point in the last 54 minutes of the game.

You do realise that Queensland have only been held to one try in an Origin match eight times in their last 49 games? I pose that purely to ask why you thought scoring just two tries would be enough to win?

Thirdly, you opted for a more attacking outfit. We loved it! What we all forgot, while we were contemplating an end to the miserable, dour encounters you have been bludgeoning us with for a few years now, was that you lack the ability to create an offence at all – even with better attacking players. You do know that second-rowers and centres can provide a lot more than just tackling ability?

What is with the last-tackle options? For years we all just thought Mitchell Pearce was sh.… actually no, that’s a bad example. We thought the halves we kept picking were just not up to the task of Origin, but given that the personnel keeps changing and the same woes continue in the halves, it means the issue is elsewhere.

And let’s call a spade a bloody shovel: the issue is you. For a bloke who was a brilliant five-eighth at every level of the game, you have no idea as a coach.

Don’t feel bad, plenty of great playmakers share your trait: Wally Lewis, Tommy Raudonikis, Terry Lamb, Craig Coleman.

So I have a suggestion. Either start working on far better game-plans, utilising the attacking prowess at your disposal and actually take the Maroons on instead of your useless, ‘keep them at bay’ approach. You had one play all night and you showed your hand early and repeatedly. You are up against an experienced and skilful side; the Blues have to be vastly, far more vastly, better than that.

Time to get some backrowers who can create some second phase play with offloads, feed some good ball to the centres, let Reynolds and Maloney actually do something other than be the go-to men when a play shits itself after four tackles of one-out plodding up the guts. Have a varied kicking game. If you put up a bomb, have four or five blokes chasing and putting pressure on. Bombs are pointless if they are uncontested.

Either change everything about your approach as coach, or leave. Currently all you are doing is a favour to rugby union, by making rugby league look more boring. Please don’t do that anymore.

Finally, tell Bob Fulton to piss off. He was a great player and a great coach. But he is neither now and his selection ideas are bordering on Sheens-like for their pointlessness, stupidity and ineffectiveness.

Yours sincerely,
Blues fans everywhere

**This article appeared on the Commentary Box Sports website**

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