Stuart tipped to be NSW's saviour - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stuart tipped to be NSW's saviour

Joe Barton 17/03/2011 08:13:19 PM Comments (0)

NSW greats are hailing former champion halfback Ricky Stuart as the perfect man to end Queensland's State of Origin dominance.

Blues legends Brad Fittler and Terry Lamb said Stuart, the last man to coach NSW to a series victory, would bring the right mix of passion and tactical nous required to take down Mal Meninga's Queensland juggernaut.

The Maroons have won five consecutive series, a sobering statistic that ended Craig Bellamy's Origin coaching career after his third straight series defeat last year.

It forced a significant overhaul to the NSW system, with the NSWRL introducing Stuart in a full-time coaching role.

And Lamb, who admits he is "filthy" at watching Queensland clinch series after series, believes Stuart is the man who can turn it all around.

"He's perfect for it," Lamb raved.

"His passion, his love of the game in general and knowing what he can do ... and now we've got a full-time coach ... it's great for the Blues.

"We're going through a rough trot at the moment but I know Ricky can get the players going and if we can help out in any way we will."

Fittler still struggles to accept the Blues haven't tasted success since 2005, but has tipped a promising era on the horizon to be built around Stuart and key halfback Mitchell Pearce.

"2005 ... it sounds like a long time ago, doesn't it?" Fittler said.

"I think (Stuart) is the right choice ... he'll do a good job.

"The picking of the side is going to be crucial and they've narrowed the whole structure of that down, so that's going to help enormously.

"(To win Origin this year) it's going to take a good side that backs themselves, I think we've definitely got the players.

"I think they've put a lot of energy into NSW over the pre-season and that's a good sign.

"They were the changes everyone was crying out for the past 10 years. It's good, I like the energy in the joint."

Fittler and the recently-retired Trent Barrett see Pearce as a player NSW can build their squad around for the next decade, similar to Queensland's success by structuring their attack around the reliable combination of Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston.

"I think his passing game enables you to (build an Origin team around him)," Fittler said.

"I think he gives you a chance to spread the ball a bit so you don't just rely on that barge game.

"If a team aims up that game becomes useless, so he can really question your outside defence, Mitchell, and I think that's a great asset.

Barrett added: "Mitchell Pearce is certainly a guy that you can build a team around, he was great the other night (for the Roosters against South Sydney) and he'll certainly be a huge part of the side.

"The team is in good hands."

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