Blues backed to rebound from shocker
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.”
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.