New South Wales players in booze bender revealed

Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson talk during a New South Wales
training.

NEW South Wales Rugby League boss Dave Trodden will
investigate the circumstances around a pub visit by key
players Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan on the Friday before
the State of Origin decider.

The former Canberra Raiders teammates reportedly spent their
day off drinking at Lennox Point Hotel in northern NSW, five
days before the Blues suffered a heavy defeat in Brisbane.

The Blues were based in Kingscliff, about an hour’s drive from
the hotel, and were given the day to themselves ahead of the
crucial clash.

Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan speak during a New South Wales Blues captain's run.

Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan
speak during a New South Wales Blues captain’s
run.
Source:Getty Images

Trodden confirmed he would question team officials in the
review of the team’s 2-1 series loss to the Maroons.

“It hasn’t been raised with the team management,” Trodden told
News Corp Australia.

“I’d heard the rumours. We do a review of all these things in
the immediate wash-up of all Origin campaigns and I’ll be
asking questions about it.”

Dugan confirmed to News Corp Australia that he was at the hotel
visiting friends but said there was no misbehaviour.

“We were with two of our good mates having lunch and a few
beers,” Dugan said. “We were home at a respectable hour and
there’s nothing more to it — it was six days (sic) out from the
game.”

NSW Blues State of Origin players Blake Ferguson (left) and Josh Dugan talk at a breakfast.

NSW Blues State of Origin
players Blake Ferguson (left) and Josh Dugan talk at a
breakfast.
Source:AAP

NRL journalist Paul Kent said the incident shows a clear
attitude problem in the Blues squad.

“For New South Wales to end the rot of ten losses in eleven
years, they needed everything to go right,” Kent told NRL 360.
“You can’t half do it.”

His NRL 360 co-host and former Queensland star Ben Ikin said
the bender shows the two players were not willing to put the
team before themselves in order to end the Maroons Origin
dominance.

“It comes from discipline and sacrifice,” Ikin said. “It’s
about giving up things to gain extra ground. They should have
known, they didn’t have to be there in the context of where
that team was at in the Origin series.”

The Blues’ culture was further called into question on NRL 360
on Friday night by Matthew Johns, the former New South Wales
five-eighth labelling the Blues “classless”.

Johns was disappointed that the plan to start David Klemmer
ahead of Andrew Fifita in the Origin decider was scrapped.

“It was a good tactical move (to start Klemmer) … that was
the right decision,” Johns said.

“If Fifita doesn’t want to swallow it, say ‘see you later’.
It’s stunning and it’s symbolic of what’s wrong with New South
Wales.”

“Compare that to Billy Slater, (being left out in) game one …
he handled that with class. Whereas our side of the fence is
classless.”

Blues adviser Peter Sterling confirmed on Friday that the
original plan was for Klemmer to start, but did not know why
that changed.

THAIDAY TO BE PUNTED

Sam Thaiday of the Broncos.

Sam Thaiday of the
Broncos.
Source:Getty Images

LONG-serving forward Sam Thaiday has been told his time at NRL
club Brisbane will end after next season.

The 32-year-old has spent his entire 268-game career at the
Broncos, winning the 2006 premiership.

“Next year will be the end for Sam with us,” Brisbane coach
Wayne Bennett told
The Courier-Mail
.

It compounds a difficult period for Thaiday, who lost his place
in Queensland’s State of Origin team after game one because of
coach Kevin Walters’ desire to rejuvenate the side with younger
blood.

While he could opt to attempt to continue his career at another
club, Bennett said Thaiday would have a role at the club in an
off-field capacity after his playing career.

“Sam has a long-term future at the Broncos beyond football and
I still want him to be part of the club in some way,” Bennett
said.

“He has such great credibility in the game. We are involved in
a lot of indigenous programs where we can use guys like Sam and
Justin Hodges, so there is a role.

“I guess it’s up to him if he wants to retire next year, but I
just know we won’t be re-signing Sam and I’ve told him that.”

Sam Thaiday of the Broncos walks off the ground.

Sam Thaiday of the Broncos
walks off the ground.
Source:Getty Images

Thaiday has played 16 games this season, coming off the bench
in most of them, and Bennett paid tribute to the workhorse’s
contribution to the club.

“Sam has been a wonderful warrior and I want to give him the
respect he deserves,” he said.

LUSSICK’S FACING FINE

Manly’s Darcy Lussick is facing a fine for pulling Aaron Woods’
hair in a tackle during Sunday’s win over Wests Tigers.

Prop Lussick pulled Woods down by the hair as the Tigers
captain ran the ball up early in the second half of the Sea
Eagles’ 28-16 win at Lottoland.

Lussick can accept a $1350 fine with an early guilty plea for
the contrary conduct charge over the incident.

“It happens every game. It’s part of having long hair,” Woods
said. “He must’ve done it right in front of the ref. It was a
bit of piggy back, it was good at the time.”

The incident came just hours after former Blues prop Glenn
Lazarus singled out Woods for a poor start to Origin three in
Brisbane.

“The very first set of six, he’s backed into the defence,”
Lazarus told Nine’s Sunday Footy Show.

“He does it a lot at club level, and gets away with it because
the defence isn’t as intense or committed.” “At Origin level,
you don’t get away with it. He got dominated in the ruck, he
was held down for an eternity. The poor bugger that took the
next hit up got smashed.

“And then of course, our very first set of six, our kick is
charged down. What NSW needed then was our big guys go forward
and complete the set of six rather than backing into the line.”

W — AAP

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