Origin lite no flash in the pan - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Origin lite no flash in the pan

David Beniuk 07/07/2011 06:17:33 PM Comments (0)

Ricky Stuart's radical plan of playing just two specialist props in this year's State of Origin series won't be a passing fad, say the NSW backrowers who picked up the slack for their side.

Stuart threw out the coaching manual for games two and three, picking just two regular front-rowers for each game and moving captain Paul Gallen from the back to the front row.

Youngsters Tim Mannah and Trent Merrin were the only specialist props used in game two and Mannah and Keith Galloway in game three.

The move to field six backrowers, including Gallen, came off spectacularly in Sydney, where the Blues won 18-8 on the back of their superior speed around the ruck.

Gallen's move was a revelation as his 80-minute performance went down in NSW Origin folklore.

But the Blues struggled to contain a rampant Queensland side in the game three decider, a task that would have verged on the impossible for any team.

NSW backrower Luke Lewis, who was called in for Origin II and III, said the strategy would be seen again in next year's series.

"Absolutely, Origin football's the fastest game you can play in the world and I think we had a super-fit team," he told AAP as the Blues arrived at Sydney airport on Thursday.

"It's just that it doesn't matter who you play out there on the park, it's all about the possession and you've got to get an even share of the ball.

"If we can just get into a game where it's 50-50 with the ball and just get into the arm wrestle and complete our sets I really believe we can match them."

Stuart's tactic was perhaps all the more radical after Queensland's big men, in particular Matt Scott, had dominated the go-forward in game one at Suncorp Stadium.

Lewis said the gamble had proved the Blues coach was the right man to have at the helm.

"Ricky knows the game inside out and I've got all the faith in the world in Ricky," Lewis said.

"I believe that he's the right man for the job and he's definitely on theright path with getting everything spot-on.

"He definitely got the last six weeks spot on and it just came down to us on the field."

Skipper Gallen said Stuart, who won four series as a player and the 2005 title in his only other stint as a coach, had educated the side in what Origin football meant.

"I think we've taken some good steps," Gallen said. "I think a lot of us have discovered what Origin is, playing for your mate and there's a lot of passion.

"We probably haven't felt that over the past four or five years and I think that we found that this year and that's why it hurts so much."

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