Blues backed to re­bound from shocker

Tweed Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - Daniel Mcken­zie daniel.mcken­zie@tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

STATE OF ORI­GIN: New South Wales as­sis­tant coach An­thony Laf­franchi ex­pects the Blues to make lim­ited changes for Ori­gin III af­ter an 18-16 loss to the Ma­roons on Wed­nes­day night.

While Laf­franchi lamented a sec­ond half Blues fade-out which saw Queens­land pile on 12 unan­swered points, he backed the side to re­bound in the se­ries de­cider at Sun­corp Sta­dium in three weeks time.

“I don’t think there’ll be too many changes, there were a cou­ple of things that didn’t go our way, a cou­ple of in­di­vid­ual lapses and things like that, but I think the guys de­serve their spots,” Laf­franchi said on his Ra­dio 97 break­fast show.

“I sup­pose it’s just man­ag­ing club per­for­mances and in­juries that would po­ten­tially add some changes. For me, I couldn’t see too many changes – if any – go­ing into game three.”

In search of their first Ori­gin se­ries win since 2014 and just their sec­ond since 2005 on Wed­nes­day night, things looked to be on track for Lau­rie Da­ley’s side, which went into half-time with a 10 point lead.

But a Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater inspired Queens­land side flipped the script in a stun­ning sec­ond half blitz to set up a fairy­tale game three de­cider, in what is ex­pected to be Thurston’s – and po­ten­tially Cooper Cronk’s – last Ori­gin match.

“We just lost our way a lit­tle bit in the back end of the sec­ond half,” Laf­franchi said.

“We (had) a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to come down here and wrap the se­ries up. Un­for­tu­nately we made a few er­rors and the game slipped away from us.”

Laf­franchi said while the Blues were sting­ing from the loss, he was con­fi­dent they could re­peat their game one ef­forts.

“Loz (Da­ley) is empty, as all the play­ing group are, but there’s a few pos­i­tives we can take out of what we’ve done so far in the se­ries and take it into Sun­corp,” he said.

“You let it hurt that we had the op­por­tu­nity to win and we didn’t, but (Da­ley) stressed to (play­ers) to get back to club land and per­form, and come back into camp in two weeks time.

“It’s a new day, the sun’s risen and it’s on again next time.”

PHOTO: DAN HIMBRECHTS

FEEL­ING BLUE: Aaron Woods of the Blues (cen­tre) looks on af­ter New South Wales were beaten at the post by a surg­ing Ma­roons’ side in Syd­ney on Wed­nes­day night.

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