NSW start plotting strategy for Origin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NSW start plotting strategy for Origin

29/04/2009 05:06:59 PM Comments (0)

NSW coach Craig Bellamy says the Blues will start their most important State of Origin series with a clean slate, free of mental baggage from a hat-trick of losses.

The NSW 40-man squad met in Sydney on Wednesday to begin plotting the downfall of a Queensland side seeking a record fourth straight series win.

The squad has 18 players yet to play for NSW and significantly only centre Matt Cooper and lock Paul Gallen remain from all three of the recent series defeats.

The clean out of NSW personnel - which this year has claimed stars such as Willie Mason, Craig Fitzgibbon and Braith Anasta - means it will again be a new-look and in-form Blues outfit that enters Origin I at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on June 3.

"I know NSW have lost the last three series but at the end of the day I don't think any of these guys were there in 2006," said Bellamy.

"There were a couple in 2007 and there were a few of them last year.

"This is a new NSW side, they have not lost the last three series these players so it is 2009 for us and that is all we are going to concentrate on.

"There is another three or four games before the side is picked so it is an important time.

"It is important for guys that are going to be playing Origin to be in form, so it is an important month."

Fullback Kurt Gidley said the change of the guard was good for NSW and warned Queensland the Blues won't be daunted by their lack of recent success.

"I don't think they've got anything over us where they are on a bigger high than us," Gidley said.

"I don't think they've got anything over us in confidence.

"I'm not worried about Queensland or the underdog tag at the moment.

"These guys are here because the selectors and coaches have backed them because they're playing good for their clubs.

"They wouldn't be here unless they were form players for the club and for the competition.

"We've plenty of fresh faces so it's a fresh start and hopefully we get a series win."

Bellamy said there were "anywhere between three and 10" players he'd consider certainties for the first game already, but wouldn't reveal any of his selection intentions.

Barring injury, Gidley is certain to be the first picked when selectors meet on May 25.

However, picking Bellamy's other favourites is too tough considering the depth in NSW's back row with Anthony Laffranchi, Paul Gallen, Glenn Stewart, Anthony Watmough, Ryan Hoffman, Anthony Tupou, Trent Waterhouse and Luke O'Donnell also fighting for Test spots.

Hooker and halfback remain Bellamy's major headaches with Robbie Farah and Michael Ennis locked in a race for the No.9 jumper and Peter Wallace and Mitchell Pearce battling for the No.7.

Newcastle's Jarrod Mullen was also in the race for halfback but a shoulder injury has crippled his chances at least for game one, possibly the series.

Farah and Ennis will go head-to-head in the City-Country clash on May 8, but Wallace and Pearce will again have to impress while playing in the same team as both represent NSW City.

Pearce is the NSW incumbent after injury kept Wallace out of last year's decider, but the Brisbane playmaker is adamant he can win back his Blues jersey.

"I'm never going to get that (game) back, so I don't worry about it now," he said.

"This is the first step. There is a bit of time to go but it's good to be here.

"I just have to worry about my own game and worry about my form for the Broncos."

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