Blues throw out blueprint - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues throw out blueprint

David Beniuk 12/06/2011 08:31:00 PM Comments (0)

Former assistant coach John Cartwright has revealed a total change in approach was behind the unusual selection of six New South Wales backrowers for State of Origin II.

Blues coach Ricky Stuart surprised by picking Cronulla lock Paul Gallen at prop and also naming Ben Creagh, Beau Scott, Greg Bird, Luke Lewis and Anthony Watmough in his 17 for Wednesday's clash with Queensland at ANZ Stadium.

Cartwright, who stepped down as an assistant to Stuart only last week to focus on struggling NRL club Gold Coast, said the Blues had realised they had got it wrong over five straight series losses and last month's 16-12 defeat at Suncorp Stadium.

"I think he's sort of looked at the approach we've taken over the last five series and we've got to be honest, it hasn't worked," Cartwright told ABC radio.

"I think he's taken a different tact. We have an abundance of backrowers.

"If Paul Gallen was playing front row for Cronulla he would be the best frontrower in the game so I don't see a problem with him shifting up front and guys like Watmough, Bird, Lewis, they're tryscorers, they're game-breakers.

"I like the approach they've taken."

The Blues are expected to try to play a faster game, utilising quick play-the-balls and speed on the edges of the ruck.

Bird's footwork in laying on NSW's first try for halfback Mitchell Pearce in Origin I has been suggested as being behind the change in philosophy.

Gallen, Creagh, Scott and Bird were a part of the Origin I side, while the versatile Lewis and free-running Watmough were added for game two.

Bird said the approach was about making sure the best players eligible to pull on a blue jersey took the field in Origin II.

"Without worrying what position they play, (Stuart's) picked the best team possible and based our game's strategy and game-plan around that," he said.

"I think it's going to be good for us up against a big, solid pack, to have that extra bit of speed and skill around the ruck."

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