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Injuries help Ricky get it right this year Roar Guru

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    Ricky Stuart is bringing his usual dose of good luck to Canberra. (illustration by David Green Cartoonist)

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    NSW Blues coach Ricky Stuart tried his best to get it wrong yet again, but fate has stepped in to lend him a much needed helping hand.

    Stuart has been sacked from his last two head coaching jobs at the Roosters and the Sharks, as well as being shown the door when National coach.

    However, he continues to mesmerise the mainstream media and the decision makers at the ARLC into believing that he is the best coaching option.

    The winner each year of game one in the Origin has a walk up start to take the series as they only have to win one of the remaining two games left. The bookmakers agree by generally firming the Origin I winner into prohibitive odds of around 1.22:1.

    The Queensland Maroons have won the last six Origins by playing attacking rugby league and to have any chance of defeating them, the opposition must have a list of players who are capable of scoring 25 points or more.
    The Maroons have averaged scoring 24 points in their 13 wins over the last six Origins. The average since 2001 is 26 points.

    This is not rocket science but Ricky Stuart, in his wisdom, decided to play the slow and defensive Dean Young in the key position of hooker in last year’s initial game. He also could not find a position for three of the world best attacking forwards in Luke Lewis, Glenn Stewart and Anthony Watmough.

    Stuart replaced Young after when he made only 15 metres from two runs at the 43 minute mark with Mick Ennis, who came on and cost the Blues heavily with his errors and missed tackles.

    It is true that the Maroons are blessed to have Cam Smith as their hooker, but privately he must have been chuckling that he did not have to take on the two guys that have caused him the most trouble over the years in Kurt Gidley and Robbie Farah.

    Gidley is sadly injured and out of contention this year but Farah is fit and firing at club level. Farah has immense talent not only with the ball and as a tactical left foot kicker, but he is one of the most intelligent players in the NRL and knows when to run and when to pass.

    He is what has been lacking, but Stuart, for some reason only known to him, considered the likes of Young and Ennis a better origin fit.

    We now know that had former Blues captain Danny Buderus had not been injured last week he would have been given the nine jersey again after a three year stint in England.

    The fact that Buderus is 34 years old and slower than Dean Young did not seem to make any difference.

    The fact that Buderus has shown at the Knights since his return to the NRL that the speed of the game now has gone past him and that he is seemingly incapable of busting a tackle or making a line break or even setting up a support is totally irrelevant to Ricky Stuart.

    Danny Buderus has been a wonderful servant to the game and it would have been a shame had his wonderful reputation been tarnished in a high level, high stakes rep game that had passed him by.

    We had to witness this last year when Anthony Minichiello embarrassed himself and when the grand final fullback Brett Stewart watched on from his lounge thinking what he may have been able to do to help his Blues.

    Brent Stewart scores more tries per match than any other fullback by reading the game well and chiming in at the right time. He is one of those guys, along with the creative Robbie Farah, who know how to engineer 25 points or more for a team.

    It seems that not even Ricky Stuart can get it wrong this year as it appears that fate is wearing a sky blue jersey.

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    The Crowd Says (57)

    • May 8th 2012 @ 9:13am
      B.A Sports said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      Ricky Stuart has had some success as a coach. He has made mistakes, so has the great Wayne Bennett (Bennett is living one right now), but I think his record, in comparison to the other coaches out there stacks up pretty well. A premiership and two more grand finals in 5 years at the Roosters. He did nothing with the Sharks, but neither did Jack Gibson and he only ever lost one match with Australia, it was just the wrong match and it was his off field behaviour that cost him on that occaision.

      In saying that, I agree that the Buderus injury has saved him. He has had very little impact this year and if he can’t keep up in NRL matches, he won’t be able to keep up in Origin.

      Disagree on Minichello though. At the moment fullback is a lottery. He likes Dugan but Dugan has had difficuly staying on the field for six consecutive games, which he would have to do to get through the Origin series. Stewart is going ok and Minichello is in great form. A big part of the role of a fullback (and wingers) in Origin is around making good ground taking those hit ups in the first few tackles of a set, Mini and Dugan have Stewart here, while Stewart probably edges them for attacking flair. I think if Gallen is out injured, it may swing the balance of favour to Mini as a known commodity with the most experience at that level.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 9:26am said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        In the fair dinkum deptpartment, why are we even discussing Mini when we have 2 world class fullbacks available and in form/ Mini has not been anywhere near his 2005 form.
        Ricky’s win record is 25% in his last 2 years at both Roosters and Sharks. Have you noticed what has happened since he left?
        I think Gallen will be fine.

        • May 8th 2012 @ 4:43pm
          Mac said | May 8th 2012 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

          Sorry Scott I like the article but you obviously have not been watching Mini this year. He is in tremendous form, is getting his hands on the ball more than ever and all of a sudden has a wonderful passing game that seems to have come out of nowhere. I would prefer Brett Stewart at fullback but honestly Mini is actually pretty close to his best at the moment. Granted he did have a shocker in game three last year but it was a couple of uncharacteristic knockons and unforced errors more than anything else. He was awesome in game 2 and don’t say it was just the try in the dying stages, he was everywhere and even beat Slater when they both went up for a high ball in his own half. That for me was the highlight of game 2 (apart from the luke Lewis tackle on Cooper Cronk from behind 10 metres from the line). Anyway one thing MIni has lost is his blinding pace and that makes it harder for him to break the line. I’m a big Hayne fan but his defensive lapses against the Tigers were inexusable and Dugan won’t be ready till game 2 atleast so I’d have Mini as backup if anything happens to Stewart…

          • Roar Guru

            May 8th 2012 @ 8:11pm
   said | May 8th 2012 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

            you must be related to him. How in the *&^% was he awesome in game 3?
            He never looked like making a break when ever they kicked the ball to him.
            His form last year was very poor all year statistically and in my opinion. In 2012 it is better but a long way from top class.
            From everyone who has played fullback in 2012 he is:
            9th for Line Breaks
            10th for Try Assists
            8th for Tackle Breaks
            These are areas where the NSW number 1 needs to be good if they hope to counter Slater.
            Mac I admire Mini and I do watch him closely every week, but I cannot rate him now in front of Slater, Inglis, Dugan, Stewart, Barba, Hoffman, Coote, Morris, Hayne, Bowen, Boyd, Locke and even Michael Gordon and Nath Gardner.

            • May 8th 2012 @ 8:23pm
              Mac said | May 8th 2012 @ 8:23pm | ! Report

              You must have misread I said he did have a shocker in game three last year…

            • May 9th 2012 @ 9:06am
              Matt Blomberg said | May 9th 2012 @ 9:06am | ! Report


              Those statistics are irrelevant come Wednesday night. And from your list there, Mini doesn’t need to be in front of Slater, Inglis, Barba, Hoffman, Bowen Boyd or Locke; is far more consistent and relaible than Hayne, wont get injured like Dugan (Gardner and Gordon are also injured), and while Morris showed a few brilliant touches at the back it is nothing that Mini hasnt been doing for 10 years.

              You left Stewart off your list, the only one that matters, as he and the Count are neck and neck for the spot.

              I agree Stewart has that touch more speed eft in him and defends like a demon, but Mini’s combo with Pearce and Carney would be the clincher.

              • May 9th 2012 @ 1:15pm
                Renegade said | May 9th 2012 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

                Anyone mentioning Brett Morris as fullback for NSW must be a Queenslander….

      • May 8th 2012 @ 12:49pm
        eagleJack said | May 8th 2012 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        As a Manly fan I would prefer Stewart to not get selected. He is in great form and you always sense he is only a game away from injury again.

        But as a Blues fan he has to be picked over Dugan. Both are great in attack but it is in defence where Stewart wins the battle. Dugan’s defence on the w/end was woeful to say the least. He was beaten twice by Matai and once by Watmough. He stands in no man’s land when there is a line-break and anybody with an ounce of speed will stroll straight past him. Slater wouldn’t even have to get out of first gear to evade Dugan. Stewart’s cover tackle on Ferguson was Origin-like. And he brought down both TLL and Fensom close to the line. His talk and organisation from the back is second to none. His confidence is back.

        Mini isn’t even in the running. Great bloke but his efforts in Game III last year still haunts all Blues fans. Ricky wouldn’t have forgotten about that.

        • Roar Guru

          May 8th 2012 @ 1:54pm
 said | May 8th 2012 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

          Manly will lose Both Stewart bros plus Watmough. I will be surprised if they risk Tony Willaims with only one game under his belt, but he will play in game 2 and 3. Also Lyon would have played also had he wanted to.Maybe Buhrer could be on the bench. Not sure if Qld will want another 7 on the bench so Cherry-Evans may not play. I would have Barba for sure.

          • May 8th 2012 @ 2:12pm
            PLANKO said | May 8th 2012 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

            Scott so you don’t think Dugan is a hope ?

            • Roar Guru

              May 8th 2012 @ 2:39pm
     said | May 8th 2012 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

              Not game 1. He has a dicky shoulder and keeps breaking down. Shame because he is a gun.

          • May 8th 2012 @ 2:34pm
            eagleJack said | May 8th 2012 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

            Yeah Im resigned to losing Glenn Stewart and Watmough. Both essential for the Blues. I disagree on T-Rex. I think he is a near certainty. You have seen how well Glenn has come back after time out and performed. Donny Singe has been working wonders on T-Rex. He only needs to be match fit for 2 x 20 min bursts.

            I read the stories yesterday about Buhrer with interest. I rate him highly and he can certainly cover a lot of positions. But I’d prefer Hinchcliffe in the 14 jersey.

            Cherry-Evans is next to no chance I’d say. Agree on Barba. He offers a lot more.

            • Roar Guru

              May 8th 2012 @ 2:41pm
     said | May 8th 2012 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

              T Rex is a risk full stop. Not so much fitness but timing etc.

              • May 8th 2012 @ 2:50pm
                eagleJack said | May 8th 2012 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

                Maybe. But a risk worth taking

    • May 8th 2012 @ 9:14am
      GreaterWeStener said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      There’s all to much truth in this analysis. The NSW selectors must also have some culpability, even if they are just going along with what Ricky wants.

      I also think this statement is overly optimistic:
      ‘It seems that not even Ricky Stuart can get it wrong this year …’

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 9:28am said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        If anyone in the corpoate world made the massive stuff ups as Ricky did last year he certainly would be sacked.
        I am amazed that Ricky did not insist that he did not play last night when he broke down at training prior to game. CRAZY!

    • May 8th 2012 @ 9:14am
      Edward Kelly said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Yet another member of the Gidley cheer squad, yez they are everywhere. As it has been said before, he has been Qld’s best player (in blue) for a a number of years now.

      Apart from the injury to Gallen, I agree with your headline.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 9:31am said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        Early mail is that Gallen will be ok but we will know by lunch.
        But NSW must ask: WHY DID HE PLAY?
        We all knew that he broke down prior to the game and he was clearly hestant last night. The Sharks coach plus Ricky Stuart should have insisted that he was rested. How can a player over rule a coach. In fact a CEO should have stood in, but the Sharks dont have one.

        • May 8th 2012 @ 9:54am
          Renegade said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          “The Sharks coach plus Ricky Stuart should have insisted that he was rested.”

          Come off it mate….If Gallen wants to play, you let him play – simple as that.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 9:39am said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        I have always wanted to see Gidley be the NSW starting hooker. I think it is his best position.

    • May 8th 2012 @ 9:45am
      Dan said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      Scott you are completely right about hooker being gids spot, he played a couple of games there for Newcastle last year and blitzed them

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 11:49am said | May 8th 2012 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        He is just a gr8 competitor and 9 gives him the opportunity to use his enormous energy which rubs off on the team. He lacks the organisation skills of Farah, but is ideal to start.

    • May 8th 2012 @ 10:50am
      GC Tiger said | May 8th 2012 @ 10:50am | ! Report

      Ricky Stuart is QLD’s best assistant coach in years. Even with Buderus gone he will still pick Ennis or someone else just as out of form and use the QLD loyalty card.

      How a state with the majority of players can’t have a solid team already picked at the beginning of the year (with back ups for injury etc) is dumbfounding. I would normally blame Ricky but it seems the only constistant person is Bob Fulton. Maybe the cleanout hasn’t been completed.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 11:57am said | May 8th 2012 @ 11:57am | ! Report

        GC Tiger,
        The Blues have got it wrong allowing the coach to be chief seletor and god. His job should be to “manage” the players only like Mal does. To ensure they are happy and fit and can work as a team. Mal is no gr8 coach but he manages the players well and allows the seletors to select. Ricky has proven time and time again that he is a poor judge of a players ability. I could go on for hours about some of the players he has recruited for teams and paid massive sums for and played park footy. He was one of the greatest 7s I have ever seen and probably the best tactical kicker but he rates at the bottom of my scale as a coach when I weight a team. He should just do what Mal does Manage and then shut up.
        You have to ask the question why he gets so much positive publicity when his recent record at the Roosters, Sharks, Aust and NSW is shocking. The blind and biased media love him.

      • May 8th 2012 @ 12:43pm
        ceebow said | May 8th 2012 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        im sick of you qlders constantly yapping on about how we have so many players and how we struggle to keep a team. Its very easy for these experts to say these things when they are 6 years up, so we dont have time to build for the future cause we need to brreak this wining streak asap then we can look at which team we can hold onto and which of alot of these young guys can grow into origin greats.

        • Roar Guru

          May 8th 2012 @ 1:49pm
 said | May 8th 2012 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

          Had NSW picked the right players last year they nearly win. Remember they led in game one last year with a few mins to go and then won game 2.
          Thurston has been the differnce but NSW get Carney this year who i not far behind him.

    • May 8th 2012 @ 11:47am
      Bigbaz said | May 8th 2012 @ 11:47am | ! Report

      yea Let Ricky pick his favourites. Every year we wait up here with bated breath waiting,hoping the blues will pick Gidley and they never let us down. We’re hoping for Ennis, Bird and Mini as well, don’t know if we will be that lucky.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 12:03pm said | May 8th 2012 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

        lol…u make me laugh. I must confess that I laugh when I see Ennis, Bird and Mini also, but I am a fan of Gids, but not off the bench.
        Bird missed 9 tackles in game one last year.
        Ennis cost NSW game one IMO and Mini, well that was embarassing.
        I am sure he will pick his mate Bird again and banish some genuine star like Lewis or Watmough to the bench. And pick Hayne out of position to mark Greg Inglis in the centres.

        • May 8th 2012 @ 12:17pm
          Bigbaz said | May 8th 2012 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

          I’ve got this great idea, why not make Gids captain and start him on the bench. That should fool us lot up here.

        • May 8th 2012 @ 12:47pm
          ceebow said | May 8th 2012 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

          iscott – im with you 100% with mini, i cant get over all these ppl cheering for mini to get the no1 jersey after his performance last year especially game 3, it seems as soon as he came into game 2 and 3 qld had a huge target on our fullback and had a feild day on him at game 3. Im not even gonna start with that grub Ennis lol.

          • Roar Guru

            May 8th 2012 @ 1:38pm
   said | May 8th 2012 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

            Most of my days are about analysing NRL players and when Ricky picked Mini last year I almost fell off my chair. If you had been watching his games closely and examine his stats, he did not rate in the top dozen fullbacks in terms of metres gained bring the ball back, tackle breaks, line breaks, try assists etc. He was fabulous in 2005 and credit to him for getting back after injury, but he simply is not the same player.

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