We all know there is only one man who must lead the Blues

Mark O'Connor Roar Rookie

By Mark O'Connor, Mark O'Connor is a Roar Rookie

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    The State of Origin decider confirmed our greatest fears as a state; that we are inadequate.

    The inadequacy does not come from our ability to compete or our ability to desire success, it comes from our inability to achieve victory.

    This victory is blatantly within our reach. I say this with the evidence of results. We have seen since 2006 a ruthless Queensland team that have continually prevented NSW from winning the shield we so covet.

    Apart from 2014 we as a state have been unable to shift the pendulum in our favour. The statistic that has tempted us so savagely is that in the twelve years of dominance we have only lost a solitary series 3-0.

    That clearly illustrates just how competitive NSW has been. Considering the side Queensland have been blessed with it is quite a remarkable statistic that proves my theory that we are agonisingly close. It is this intoxicating proximity that makes our losses even more painstaking.

    Every year as a state we rise together with a positive vibe that this year will be different. That this will be the start of a new era. In 2014 we held the shield aloft after being comprehensively defeated 32-8.

    We had won the series that had proved so elusive and then were swiftly reminded of our place against a Queensland team that were not used to losing. One year later with an opportunity in the decider to make it back to back series victories we were obliterated 52-6.

    This served as another reminder that when the stakes are high Queensland has another level that we can only be in awe of. Only last week we were served with this reminder yet again.

    Josh Dugan NSW Blues State of Origin 2017

    (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

    Conjecture has surfaced in the wake of our most recent disappointment that Laurie Daley may leave his position and offer the opportunity to coach NSW to someone else. The problem however is simple; if he abdicates to another side, how is NSW to know that this will enhance our chances?

    After just two series Daley found the ingredients required to salvage state pride and no one would have predicted that just three years later we would be discussing who should be in charge of our team.

    There is also conjecture as to the make up of the 2018 side, which is hard to discuss when we are more than ten months away from that point. The coach though needs to be appointed in a timely manner to ensure that they have the opportunity to build the structures they feel are required for our young team to go from potential to reality.

    When Queensland were placed in this position at the end of the 2015 series they needed to select a coach for a team that had players who had won multiple series, a training staff that had won multiple series and a management system that had won multiple series.

    Kevin Walters walked into his first appointment as the only person who had not experienced success in the position they held.

    When the players looked to the man in front of them they knew that he was surrounded by examples of people who knew what it took in the position they had to win. When the New South Wales coach is appointed for 2018, they will have no experience in their position.

    They will have players who have won no more than one series, a training staff that has won no more than one series and a management structure that have won no more than one series. The question is why would we do this if the main factor that is leading to our lack of series success is that we don’t know how to win?

    Laure Daley NSW Blues State of Origin NRL 2017

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    We can bring ex-players back into the team environment who have achieved series wins but they haven’t done that consistently as part of the support staff. When the Queensland players look at Allan Langer they see a man who has been their trainer in multiple series victories.

    When our players look at Matt King they see a trainer who has only done that as a player, not as a trainer. Now, when Queensland players look at Kevin Walters they see a coach who has won two series as a coach.

    If NSW appoint Andrew Johns or Brad Fittler they will see a man who has achieved unbelievable success as a State of Origin player but has never coached his state to victory. The problem being for NSW that they can’t look around the room and see anyone who in their current position has had success in multiple series victories.

    So what is the answer? There is only one man who can stand in the dressing room and instil a confidence in our team that is desperately needed.

    There is only one man who can take this side from potential to reality and there is only one man who will steel our great state with a confidence that will be more than words.

    That one man can do this because quite simply he has done it before and not just once but six times.

    Phil Gould is the only man with the presence, poise and precision to wipe the slate clean and start again. When he looks a young player in the eye and says, ‘trust me’ they will trust him and it is that trust that will change the fortunes of our state and have Queensland quaking in their boots.

    He will unsettle them more than any ex-player ever could. In the end if Queensland don’t want him to be our coach because he is the man they fear more than any then he is the only person we should be considering to lead us in to battle in 2018.

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