Blues plead for shot at redemption - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues plead for shot at redemption

By Steve Jancetic 12/06/2008 07:12:36 PM Comments (0)

NSW firebrands Willie Mason and Paul Gallen say Blues selectors can't afford wholesale changes for next month's Origin decider, claiming now is not the time to hit the panic button with the series on the line.

No sooner had referee Tony Archer's whistle stopped blaring to signal the end to Wednesday night's crushing 30-0 defeat in Origin II that calls for an overhaul of the Blues began.

The performances of five-eighth Greg Bird and debutant winger Steve Turner in particular as well as the entire Blues pack were put under the microscope, with NSW needing to regroup ahead of Origin III in Sydney on July 2.

But Gallen said mass changes would do more damage than good, the Sharks enforcer of the belief the players who were good enough to get the job done in game one deserved a shot at redemption in the decider.

"Making wholesale changes is probably just going to make it harder on us anyway, it means you have to teach them the game plan and get them up to speed," Gallen said.

"I'm sure everyone that played last night would love to make amends for what happened. Everyone that played was pretty fired up afterwards, it would be great for us to get the opportunity in game three."

It was a statement echoed by the other 16 humbled Blues, including Mason.

"Belly's (coach Craig Bellamy) a pretty loyal bloke and he knows he's got the team to get the job done," Mason said.

"We just have to go back to our club teams and play some really good football and have a look at our game against Queensland and come back into camp with a new attitude.

"It's a whole new ball game, forget about that one, it's over, and concentrate on game three."

Given NSW's inability to put points on the board at Suncorp Stadium, there have been calls for Sydney Roosters pivot Braith Anasta to be brought in with Bird shifting to lock.

While the theory of bringing in an extra playmaker has some merit, it must also be remembered that heading into last night's game Bird had won back to back man of the match awards wearing the sky blue No.6 jumper.

Turner will almost certainly make way for Jarryd Hayne, despite the Parramatta winger not playing another game before Origin III due to the suspension that ruled him out of game two.

It's a similar story with injured prop Ben Cross, who will have to be considered for selection without playing again before the team for the decider is picked due to a broken hand.

His lack of recent game time could result in selectors bringing in one of Brent Kite, Luke Bailey or Jason Ryles.

All three are either current or former Test props, so there would be no fear of them being overawed by the occasion of a decider as the Blues look for some answer to the twin towers of the Maroons front row in Steve Price and Petero Civoniceva.

But Mason called for calm from fans and selectors.

"(We're still) very confident, it's one-all," he said.

"We won the first game and they won the second game.

"It's a bit shocking I suppose getting beat 30-0, I didn't think a 30-0 scoreline dictated how hard that game was.

"It's one-all, everyone wanted a decider and now you've got it."

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