Stuart concedes NSW have peaked
New South Wales Blues rugby league coach, Ricky Stuart, announces his side for State of Origin Game 2 2012 (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
NSW State of Origin coach Ricky Stuart has today conceded that his side’s best has already come.
Addressing the assembled media outside his NSW team’s Penrith training base, a visibly defeated Stuart made the surprising admission that his NSW side has peaked too early.
“Our players are obviously not good enough to produce two quality, match-winning performances in a row,” Stuart said. “Queensland has superior playing talent, more passion and better coaching.”
He went on to suggest that these factors, combined with home ground advantage, biased officialdom and his own defeatist attitude would ensure that NSW will not be able to match their last performance.
“After fluking a win in our last match I would’ve thought this was all pretty plain to see,” Stuart told the media throng.
In Stuart’s refreshingly honest and sensible hour-long media address, the coach often credited with restoring passion and interstate hatred to the NSW camp aggressively outlined his reasoning for this unexpected concession.
Explaining that his bench forwards Ben Creagh and Trent Merrin offer no impact when introduced into the game, Stuart said his team will struggle to maintain ascendancy in the forwards over the full 80 minutes.
Stuart explained that given his side has a halfback that lacks any genuine game-breaking potential, this loss in forward ascendancy will prove critical.
The master coach then used a magic marker on a whiteboard to painstakingly dissect his side’s attacking structure, in the process outlining why his side will fail to score any tries.
Pointing to the predictability of the side’s second-man plays as a particular concern, Stuart bemoaned the lack of strike power in their outside backs.
“Particularly now that I’ve dropped that Fijian bloke,” he muttered.
It was during this passage of Stuart’s address that the atmosphere became heated.
The gathered press began to question the wisdom in Stuart’s very public analysis of his own side’s limited game plan.
“Look, I don’t care what you say! This stuff is obvious!” Stuart bellowed at a confused media scrum during one particularly animated exchange.
“Mitchell Pearce is a one-dimensional playmaker with no tricks up his sleeve! How is he possibly going to cause any problems for the Queensland defence now that they are used to facing him?”
To further illustrate his point Stuart went on to explain in great detail the flaws in Pearce’s attacking game.
These were flaws Stuart said will almost certainly prevent the Roosters playmaker from asking questions of the Maroons defence.
According to the NSW coach, Pearce’s lack of speed, footwork or power as a ball-runner is a particular factor which precludes the son of ARLC Commissioner Wayne Pearce from troubling the Queensland defensive line.
“His kicking game is also fairly one-dimensional,” Stuart added, before illustrating his point by showing a pre-prepared video analysis of Pearce’s predictable fifth-tackle options.
“Another bomb,” a journalist mumbled as he nodded to himself, finally convinced.
As his address came to a close, Stuart selflessly took the heat off his players by also pointing the media to his own abysmal coaching record.
Stuart suggested that before blaming NSW’s outclassed players for his side’s blatant Origin failings, critics should also take into account the incompetence of the side’s coach.
“What about your Roosters premiership?” another journalist asked.
“No, don’t do that,” Stuart sighed. “That happened almost ten years ago.”
“Since then I have been sacked by two clubs for failing to both produce results and instil a disciplined club culture,” he continued. “That is much more relevant.”
Stuart then trudged dejectedly from the press conference and was last heard muttering to assistant coach Trent Barrett that he was going to go back to bed.
Barrett put his arm around the coach in an apparent attempt at reassurance, but Stuart’s loud sigh suggested that it had failed.
(Any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental)
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