Things can only improve for Blues: Stuart - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Things can only improve for Blues: Stuart

By Steve Jancetic 14/06/2011 05:35:52 PM Comments (0)

NSW coach Ricky Stuart says his confidence heading into State of Origin II stems from the fact things can't get any worse for the Blues than they did in the series opener.

Stuart said the Blues would head to ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night confident they could finally bring down the mighty Queensland outfit, after coming so close in game one despite being starved of possession.

"This team will never, ever be in a style of game like that again," Stuart said on Tuesday.

"They might have the same (possession), but it can't get any worse."

The Blues had the ball for just 127 runs compared to 185 for the Maroons at Suncorp Stadium, with Queensland - led by their dominant front row rotation - rumbling for 1503 metres to just 1117 for NSW.

Somehow, the Blues still managed to sneak ahead via a Michael Jennings try in the 69th minute, but whether it was down to nerves or the amount of defensive work they had endured, NSW succumbed to the Maroons yet again.

"You can't win an NRL game on the amount of possession we had in game one, it's even harder with this type of challenge in front of us with this (Queensland) team," Stuart said.

"It would be a nice to get a greater share of possession than what we got last game - an even amount would be terrific.

"We showed last time that we could still be leading (with the discrepancy in possession).

"I think our inexperience came to the fore in the last eight minutes of that game.

"I'd like to think we've learnt a very valuable lesson.

"We've shown what we can do with a lack of possession, we now just hope we can get a little more ball."

The Blues have adopted a siege mentality in the lead-up to Origin II, shutting the media and the general public out of all but their opening training session last week.

Stuart denied there was anything secret or sinister in the behind-closed-doors approach, with skipper Paul Gallen insisting the Blues were doing all they could to ensure all their focus was on Wednesday night's game.

"There's nothing secret going on - it's an us-versus-them thing," Gallen said.

"We just want to get our preparation right, we don't need distractions ... it's just time to worry about footy now."

Despite reports Beau Scott was in some doubt for the game with a hamstring complaint, Stuart insisted the defence-minded backrower would take his place in the 17 named last week.

The Blues enjoyed their final run at the match venue on Tuesday night, Stuart keen to simulate match conditions as much as possible by pushing what was a planned morning run into the evening.

While he made six changes to the side which lost in Origin I, Stuart said Wednesday night would be a continuation of the process started in Brisbane as the Blues look to bring an end to Queensland's dynasty.

"I said at the start of this campaign that we were starting from scratch and we've got a huge task in front of us in terms of what this football team (Queensland) is capable of," Stuart said.

"We've taken a huge step forward in game one ... but we still haven't arrived at the destination.

"The destination isn't far away - I can't promise you when it's going to happen but the destination isn't far away."

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