Laurie Daley says his NSW side need to improve their attack to have any chance of completing a first State of Origin whitewash in 14 years.
Unhappy with his side’s overall display in State of Origin II, NSW coach Laurie Daley has identified an improvement in attack as the key to completing a first Blues whitewash in 14 years.
A Trent Hodkinson try nine minutes from fulltime sealed a 6-4 victory to wrap up the series in Sydney last month, but the Maroons largely contained the hosts when they ventured forward.
There was some criticism that forward king-pins Paul Gallen and Greg Bird saw too much of the ball and nullified the chance for Blues fullback Jarryd Hayne to be as damaging as in game one.
But Daley said the tactic was utilised because Queensland were much improved in defence and made it difficult for the Parramatta superstar to dominate.
“I think Queensland did their homework and defended our plays really well,” Daley said.
“We’re not going to change too much, if at all.
“Jarryd is a key player, but as I said before game one it’s about everyone doing their job.
“If everyone does their job Jarryd is the guy who can produce something special.
“But we can’t just rely on him. We need performances from everyone.”
Daley put his side’s diffidence in attack in game two down to nerves.
But the 44-year-old hopes with the pressure lifted after wrapping up a first series win for nine years, he players can play with more freedom.
“I think we probably played a bit uptight when we had the footy,” he said.
“We just didn’t find that rhythm we had in game one.
“I know that Queensland’s attack will be a lot better and our defence will be put under a lot of pressure.
“I doubt whether you can continue to keep Queensland scoreless (tryless) two games in a row and we’ve got to be able to score points.”
While the Blues’ attack stuttered at ANZ Stadium, there has been little to fault with their defence with just 12 points conceded in 160 minutes of action.
The Maroons haven’t breached the NSW line since the 56th minute of game one and Daley said it’s a record his team is hugely proud of
“To do what we’ve done is pretty significant because they are a great attacking team. To keep them to no tries in game two was phenomenal performance,” he said.
“We’ve tinkered a bit with our structure to beat Queensland but the over-riding thing has been the desire to make a tackle.
“I think we’ve saved six or seven tries.
“There hasn’t been much between the sides and if they score those tries we’re sitting here 2-0 behind and thinking about what can we do better next year.
“The effort has been as good as I have seen.
“But they’ve been criticised and they’ll be hurting and that is a concern of mine because when you wind up a champion with a bit of criticism they usually come back and make you look a fool.”