Ex-players to provide X-factor for Blues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ex-players to provide X-factor for Blues

By David Beniuk 13/05/2010 07:03:47 PM Comments (0)

NSW will use the secret weapon which inspired their State of Origin III upset last year when they seek to stop Queensland notching a fifth straight series win.

The Blues' Former Origin Greats (FOGs) will be part of the side's preparation after coach Craig Bellamy and assistant Andrew Johns credited their influence on the 28-16 victory at Suncorp Stadium.

FOGs boss Max Krilich says, despite an ongoing disagreement with some NSW officials, a busload of former Blues will descend on Origin camps this year after around 30 joined the side in Terrigal in 2009.

"Andrew Johns rings me up and says, 'That was fantastic'," former NSW hooker Krilich said.

"A week later he said, 'The guys are still talking about what a great time we had'.

"They had a debriefing after the win and Bellamy says to Johns, 'That goes on all the time from now on'.

"It's just the fun, the camaraderie, the mateship, the stories."

Krilich said that's what had made the Maroons so formidable for years.

"(Paul Vautin said) 'We've been doing that for 20 years, that's how far behind you are," Krilich said.

The former Manly and Test hooker said he had 200 former Blues on his books but was still in the hunt for five or six he had been unable to contact.

They include former Wests player Phil Duke, who dropped a pass in his own in-goal which led to a Queensland try in his only Origin appearance in 1982.

"Who cares? He's part of the folklore," Krilich said.

"Some blokes have been embarrassed when I rang them and said, 'I only played one game'. I said, 'I don't care if you played one game or 31 like Brad Fittler'."

But Krilich said not everyone in the NSW establishment was behind them, with the dispute believed to be about funding the FOGs' activities.

Unlike their Maroons counterparts, the NSW FOGs are not self-funding.

"We can see what we can bring, unfortunately certain people at the ARL don't know that," Krilich said.

"Luckily the coach knows."

Krilich said Blues selectors could also learn from their Queensland counterparts by sticking with the tried and true who secured the Origin III win last year, including Trent Barrett at five-eighth.

"I wouldn't stray far away from the side that played the last game and that's what Queensland have done for donkey's years," he said.

"We've had 50 more guys play for NSW. Why? Because they don't change their side even when they get beaten. You've got to die to get out of their side.

"When the player's get thick, and this is what the Queensland model's about, they stick together.

"That's what we have to create with NSW."

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