NSW State of Origin loss is systematic of a culture gone wrong

NRL: Parramatta will take on the Tigers this week,
meaning Mitch Moses will take on his old team after
a controversial exit.

It seems the Blues still weren’t united ahead of the
decider. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

A GREAT silence falls over the Blues. Freed from
another Origin series shortcoming, they are still not free
from their Origin pain.

Everything we believed is a fraud. The strides made in culture,
their belief in what it meant to play for NSW, all a puff of
smoke.

Not everybody let the team down. But those who did, did so
badly.

As a unit there is not a lot of strength in the Blues. Not
everywhere, where it is absolutely necessary in Origin.

Some are wonderful young men. Captain Boyd Cordner grew this
series.

Josh Jackson is welcome in any team you care to name. Jake
Trbojevic is a player you can build a team around for the next
10 years.

Coach Laurie Daley went beyond the call for his players,
protecting their reputations against the loss. Cradle them too
tightly, though, and they die in your arms.

BOOZE BROTHERS: Duges and Fergo at it
again

It seems the Blues still weren’t united ahead of the decider. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It seems the Blues still
weren’t united ahead of the decider. (Cameron
Spencer/Getty Images)
Source:Getty Images

Some players let down Daley and their teammates tremendously.
They should never be picked for NSW again.

Several days before the game Daley told David Klemmer he was
going to start the game in place of Andrew Fifita. It was a
sound tactic.

Queensland negated Fifita in Game II when they got out early
from marker and chopped him around the legs. The moment Fifita
feels his legs are being attacked he begins to crab across
field.

A starting pair of Aaron Woods and Klemmer provided other
benefits. One a ballplayer, the other pure crash and barge.

It also allowed a fresh Fifita to come on once the sting had
left the defence, where it is assumed he would be more
threatening.

Fifita did not much like the
switch and the story broke in The Sunday Telegraph.

Asked a question, Klemmer could not lie.

“Yes, I was told I was starting,” Klemmer said. “But I didn’t.
That is all I will say.”

Should David Klemmer started — and would it have changed the result? (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Should David Klemmer started —
and would it have changed the result? (AAP Image/Dan
Peled)
Source:AAP

Most reports, the politest way they can be described, are that
Fifita aggressively questioned the tactic, to the point Daley
relented and allowed him to start, leaving the rest of the
squad frustrated.

What happened to this culture of team buy-in? They were
sacrificing a sound strategy to please a player?

Fifita is big and quick across the ground and should stand like
a colossus in the game. Yet Fifita is a punchline in the
Queensland camp.

They laughed solidly when he
whinged after Game II that he was sledged.
He was angry, he
told all who would listen, but he would not say what was said
that angered him.

He seemed to have no trouble sooking about what was said on the
field but, pressed for detail, then saying what happens on the
field stays on the field.

It later emerged that Josh McGuire — who put it on the line
verbally and then backed it up physically, winning the
admiration of plenty — told Fifita “We knew you were shit” and
“You are just shit c … s”.

The Queenslanders, all solid men, knew Fifita’s salty tears
said everything they believed about Fifita. They exposed it,
too.

Fifita wasn’t willing to give up his spot — but who’s in charge? (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Fifita wasn’t willing to give
up his spot — but who’s in charge? (AAP Image/Dave
Hunt)
Source:AAP

At the same time as we were being sold on this new Blues
culture it also emerged in the decider fallout that Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan
were spending their day off
at the Lennox Point Hotel.

This was after the bonding period was shut down. If nothing
else, it shows where their heads were at.

The disappointment in all this is that this is exactly what the
Blues have been telling us they are so slowly building towards
— identifying and correcting this weakness in culture.

The Blues spoke so often about it they had many of us
convinced.

We have now learned it is one thing to recognise it and speak
to it … and another thing altogether to live it.

Maroons fans are always part of the Queensland plan. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Maroons fans are always part
of the Queensland plan. (AAP Image/Dave
Hunt)
Source:AAP

The failings begin from the top down.

The Blues are called in to camp and as quickly as they can they
fly to Kingscliffe on the Queensland border. As far from the
heart of NSW as they can be. Hessian netting is wrapped around
the ground for training sessions to stop prying eyes seeing in.

The Blues isolate themselves, tucked in their own world.

Queensland embrace their State. They fly into towns like
Toowoomba and Rockhampton and Mackay and spend a day signing
autographs and absorbing what it means to represent these
people.

Training is open and Queenslanders are welcomed to be part of
it.

Their first words are always about the honour of playing for
Queensland and not letting their state down.

The Blues merely speak to it, undone by a few, and still they
do not learn.

Originally published as
NSW Origin loss shows a culture gone wrong

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