Laurie Daley broke his silence over New South Wales’ blown 2017 Origin campaign and all but proved he is not the man to lead the Blues in 2018.
Unfortunately, he is all but set to be offered a one-year extension despite a dismal record as the Blues coach and a butchered series that was there to be won this year.
In a telling interview with Ben Ikin and Paul Kent on NRL360, Daley seemed to be on for a tell-all and left looking like a guilty criminal. Daley gave up very little. Despite the review by the NSWRL being a total whitewash where every man and his dog knows Daley is about to be given an extension, Daley hid behind it in order to avoid questions.
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Daley wouldn’t apportion blame.
He wouldn’t say who would be out next year or even if there would be wholesale changes.
He admitted he told David Klemmer he would start and Andrew Fifita would be benched but then claimed personal confidentiality as to why, after a conversation with Fifita, he changed his mind.
He indicated he was not sure of the reasons the Blues lost.
He was adamant there are no cultural issues.
He said he was unaware Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson had been on the drink until after the game.
He was off his head when he claimed the hustle and the effort from the Blues was on par with the Maroons.
He refused to admit accusations that the Blues just “didn’t get it”.
He said that he loved the group of players from the team this year.
It was cringeworthy and not the performance of a leader who can change the course. He simply doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to make the courageous decisions required. All indicators from Daley were that he wanted to operate within the system, that he didn’t want to change tack, that he wanted to give this crop another chance.
Since taking over in 2013, Daley’s record as Blues coach stands at 6-9 – and a dismal one win from five series, with their 2014 boilover largely attributable to Cooper Cronk’s absence from all but 10 minutes of the first two games.
If Daley, as expected, retains the reins in 2018 he will eclipse Phil Gould (who won four of five series from 1992-96) for the longest stint in charge of NSW. He will sit behind only Mal Meninga (nine wins from 10 series) for the longest unbroken term as an Origin coach – despite an overwhelming lack of success.
The time for conservatism has long gone. Wholesale change is required. And it should start with the coach.
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