Why losing Origin every year is a full-time job

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By , Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert

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    With Laurie Daley tipped to hide in the forest for a decade, the question must be asked; why can’t a club coach be employed to lead New South Wales to its annual demise?

    Why does it have to be Andrew Johns or Brad Fittler or someone else from Channel Nine with a chequered past?

    It’s because overseeing series losses for New South Wales is a round-the-clock, year-long job equating to an average of one game every four months.

    The role requires one’s undivided focus, as evidenced by its stupendous number of five-minute captain’s runs.

    That’s why the Blues shouldn’t appoint someone already employed like a club coach, administrator or even the postman, despite the latter looking pretty attractive compared to the last decade.

    If you don’t believe me, take a look at Laurie Daley’s packed annual schedule.

    January 1st: No rest for the wicked. Must beat Queensland. Despite kick-off being five months away, I rise at 6am to research the opposition for a fortnight straight. Review video to search for exploitable weaknesses. Formulate methods to counter the 327 found in own team. Must match Queensland’s desire. Pause on Tuesday for laundry. Do it passionately.

    January 15th: Another fortnight of video. This time, reviewing past victories. Not to reinforce positive methods, but to debunk growing theory we have never actually beaten Queensland. Make out Sparkles McGaw scoring a winner in grainy footage. Probably was a dead rubber, but I’ll take it. Mission accomplished after two weeks, time to feed the cat.

    February 1st: Begin booking accommodation for camp. Seems early, but this usually takes a month or two. I can never remember my Stayz.com password.

    February 12th: Search for unique innovations to improve NSW rugby league. Copy Queensland’s blueprint and develop plan for pathways and structures and other fancy shit like that.

    March 1st: Further expand on pathways thing and develop idea for an academy. Toss around names. Come up with ‘Downer Centre’ or ‘NSW Institute of Drops’. Spend a week building scale model of academy. Geez, I love building things. Why can’t Origin love me like Lego does?

    March 8th: Begin strapping-up Josh Dugan.

    Josh Dugan NSW Blues State of Origin 2017

    (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

    March 10th: Preparation for the series proper. Begin formulating excuses and disaster management strategies. Source character references and excavate underground shelter.

    March 17th: Meet with coaching staff to design game plan. Successful meeting, came up with some good ‘shapes’.

    March 18th: Research the meaning of ‘shapes’.

    March 19th: Put final touches on game plan. Confident. Has just the right amount of over-analysis to burden the players in to either fear or complacency.

    April 1st: Public appearance on The Footy Show. Guarantee a Blues series victory this year.

    April 2nd: Meet with players to discuss strategy. Did they like the pillows at Kingscliff, or should we try somewhere different this year? Also address possible distractions. Senior players mention something about a pay dispute, but I didn’t catch much of it.

    I was too busy thinking of negotiating an upgrade on my $300,000 contract for next year. Seems relevant after working almost five hours today.

    May: Game 1.

    June: Game 2, test calling Andrew Fifita to make sure he doesn’t answer the phone.

    July: Game 3, do tax return.

    August – October: Crying, moaning, questioning existence etc.

    November first: Get out of bed for the first time in ten weeks. It’s been tough. Eating cake horizontally is quite challenging, and don’t even ask how I continually made my weekly spot on NRL 360.

    December first: Up at 8am to scouting the endless talent at NSW’s disposal for next year.

    8.02am: Beach.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

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