Stuart ups ante in pre-Origin antics - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stuart ups ante in pre-Origin antics

Steve Jancetic 05/07/2011 07:53:02 PM Comments (0)

The theatre of State of Origin put on a performance worthy of Broadway as the pre-match mind games went into overdrive ahead of Wednesday night's series decider.

With NSW coach Ricky Stuart refusing to bow to Queensland requests for him to reveal which of his 17 players would run out at Suncorp Stadium, the Blues concocted an elaborate plan involving a private training session in a bid to retain the shroud of secrecy engulfing the side.

The Blues were booked to have their final run at Suncorp Stadium but, with the ground also housing the offices of the Queensland Rugby League, they instead headed for Ballymore - home of Super Rugby's Queensland Reds.

Such was Stuart's paranoia that even the staff at the nearby Queensland Rugby Club, which overlooks Ballymore, were instructed not to watch the training run, while the players themselves didn't know what was going on.

"I just got told to turn up at the bus at 10.30. I turned up and it went to Ballymore," skipper Paul Gallen said.

It seemed every box was ticked - except for the fact that the Reds had called a media conference with skipper James Horwill which coincided with the Blues' session.

Suddenly, all eyes were on the Blues, as cameras and reporters did their best to get a sneak peak.

"Yeah, I was a little bit," Stuart said when asked if he was surprised to be surrounded by cameras at the session.

"Timing is everything."

What the cameras saw was Brett Morris lining up on the wing and Michael Jennings at centre, with Jarryd Hayne apparently relegated to the sidelines.

Was this the make-up of the NSW left edge, or just another ruse to throw the Maroons?

"I'll name it when we're comfortable to name it," Stuart said.

"The most important people know the team."

What about Glenn Lazarus, part of Stuart's backroom staff, going on Sydney radio on Tuesday morning and declaring Keith Galloway a certainty to make his Origin debut, leaving Glenn Stewart out of the final 17?

"You'll have to wait and see. He's doing a good job for me, Lazo."

Asked whether he was keeping his side a secret to get under Queensland's skin, Stuart said:

"I'm not trying to do that. I've got a job to do and I'm trying to do it the best possible way I can.

"All I care about is 17 players. All I care about is getting their preparation right."

Stuart admitted the reason for switching training venues was because he feared Queensland spies high in the Suncorp Stadium stands.

"Do you think there would have been someone there (at Suncorp) watching?" Stuart asked.

"That might have been the reason. I needed a quiet session.

"I didn't want any hoo-ha. I didn't need anybody watching outside of who I needed to be there.

"I appreciate the friendship with (Reds coach) Ewen McKenzie, the QRU and appreciate the fact we could get the opportunity to train there."

When told the media had gatecrashed Stuart's secret session to avoid any spies Meninga quipped "he can't blame us for that, can he?"

"He blamed us did he? It's our problem ... sorry Ricky," Meninga laughed seeing the funny side.

"Nice propaganda, it's great, Origin is alive and well.

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