Bellamy provides intense edge for NSW - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bellamy provides intense edge for NSW

By Todd Balym 22/05/2008 07:15:58 PM Comments (0)

Sometimes talent is not enough, it needs a little pushing.

Or if Craig Bellamy is coach, a lot of pushing.

The rookie NSW coach capped a remarkable turnaround for the Blues by orchestrating their 18-10 upset defeat of Queensland at ANZ Stadium to take a 1-0 series lead.

NSW had been long shots to beat the star-studded Maroons, but now find themselves huge favourites to reclaim the State of Origin crown and will head to Suncorp Stadium on June 11 chasing a series victory.

While it was the rookies who stole the show in the game, it was Bellamy pulling the strings and, more importantly, devising the game plan which delivered NSW a shock win.

Some had questioned whether Bellamy had enough `Origin spirit' to get the most out of the talented Blues given he'd never played at the highest level.

To suggest that, though, overlooks Bellamy's greatest asset - his intense desire for perfection.

Man of the match Greg Bird said Bellamy had the intensity of Cronulla and Australian Test coach Ricky Stuart - the last man to lead the Blues to a series win in 2005.

Graham Murray led NSW to successive series losses in 2006 and 2007, but his final year in charge was interrupted by a report of player unrest because of his lack of intensity during the camp.

NSW turned in flat performances and Murray was duly punted for the NRL's coach of the year in Bellamy.

In nine days Bellamy converted NSW's dispirited group into a committed outfit that absorbed defensive pressure and executed a game plan close to perfectly.

The players insist Bellamy is the difference.

"It was a lot different to last year and it paid off," said Bird of Bellamy's camp preparations.

"There's a lot of similarities there (between Bellamy and Stuart).

"I think Ricky has eased off on his intensity a little bit over the years as he has settled into his job but I think Craig is right at his pinnacle at the moment and I think it rubs off.

"The intense coach doesn't let you relax on your job and the intensity rubs off on the players."

The biggest concern for Queensland now is, if Bellamy can create such a clinical side in one week, how well-drilled will NSW be for Origin II at Suncorp Stadium on June 11?

Injured Queensland prop Steve Price says NSW could not have played much better in Origin I - singling out halfback Peter Wallace for his "perfectly" executed game.

Price feared Bellamy would have such an effect on the Blues and knows they'll now carry more confidence to Brisbane than they did into the series opener on home territory.

"It's probably one of the things I was worried about before the game," Price said.

"Knowing (Bellamy) and the type of person he is and his expectations and some of the individuals in that team, I certainly knew they would take up the challenge with a lot of excitement.

"Having that extra week under their belt now, and you would not think there'd be too many changes to the NSW team barring injury or suspension, they will go in with much the same squad with a lot of confidence to try and wrap the series up.

"I'm sure they probably know they could be a bit better as well, but there probably isn't too much more that they can get much better.

"They had very quick line speed and certainly dominated us in tackles.

"They were so intense and there wasn't one bad player for NSW, their attitude was outstanding."

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