Michael Maguire has insisted that form will come first when he picks his NSW team, with the new coach promising that previous picks will matter less under the new regime.
“I’m going to keep a very open page on where I go,” he told the media conference to mark his unveiling as Blues boss.
“I’m big on form. The biggest thing I can say to the players is just come and play the best footy you can play. That’s going to play a part in who is picked.
“When you’ve got people in really good form coming into camp, with a really positive mindset about how you want to do things, I go after those players.
“I’m looking forward to letting the players go and play and then we can have discussions around what’s going to work for NSW.
“Just go and play, enjoy doing what you’re doing. When the time comes, we’ll pick the team.
“At the end of the day, I have a pretty open sheet.
“That’s the joys of being able to start fresh and allow the players to not have to think. I just want them to play, and if they do that then the performances will sort things out over time.”
Maguire will have a raft of experienced coaches to help him along the journey.
Matt King, one of Trent Robinson’s right-hand men at the Roosters, and John Cartwright, himself a former NRL head coach with the Titans and currently an assistant to Kevin Walters at the Broncos, will be in the box alongside Madge, as will Brett White, currently an assistant on the Gold Coast.
“The Blues jersey is everything and we will ensure that we foster an environment that allows everyone to perform at their very best. Leadership and culture will be critical to do this,” said Maguire.
“Just as important will be bringing everyone along the journey with us, and by that I literally mean everyone, from the front office to the volunteer in Bourke and the thousands of junior footy players who idolise the Blues and are passionate about Origin.
“Everyone has a part to play and I want everyone across the state to feel a part of the Blues Origin campaign.”
Frank Ponissi of the Melbourne Storm is set to be team manager and Andrew Gray and Sean Edwards the high performance staff.
“Michael is a multiple premiership-winning coach in two hemispheres and has been successful in the international arena as head coach of the New Zealand team,” said NSWRL CEO David Trodden.
“Together with Michael’s recent experience at the Raiders, they all bring strong current NRL experience to the Blues as assistant coaches – with John working alongside Kevin Walters at the Broncos, Matt with Trent Robinson at the Roosters, and Brett with Des Hasler at the Titans.
“Along with Frank Ponissi’s involvement with the Storm, we now have a High Performance team that is not only impeccably credentialled but also has the breadth and depth of current experience across four NRL clubs.”