No more Mr Nice Guy as Daley turns to old tricks
GOODBYE Laurie Daley, the rugby league cleanskin.
Welcome Laurie Daley, the opportunistic league coach who will do what he has to do to get an advantage.
Perhaps Daley woke up last Friday and Sunday mornings to be surprised that two Sydney journalists had written stories detailing what were alleged to have been mass Queensland illegalities last Wednesday in NSW’s onepoint State of Origin loss.
Either that or Daley and his team have used one of the oldest tricks in rugby league’s textbook — to background friendly journalists on gripes and grievances with underpressure referees in a bid to win the next football game.
Daley was one of the most popular players on the Australian tours that he made in the 1990s.
He got that way by almost never having a bad word to say and riding the ups and downs of the game with a smile.
When he became NSW coach in 2013, Daley gave Queensland fans one fewer reason to get angry.
Where his predecessor Ricky Stuart could be seen by Maroons fans to fizzle with intensity, scheme with intent and occasionally go off like a cheap alarm clock when things didn’t go the way of the Blues, Daley gave Queenslanders virtually nothing to work with.
But it didn’t mean Daley was not driven to succeed.
On Sunday, it was reported he would have a meeting with NRL referees boss Tony Archer within 24 hours to let him know it was “game on’’ in Origin II in Melbourne.
“Tony Archer has not yet had an approach from the NSW camp for a meeting,’’ an NRL spokesman said yesterday afternoon.
There were at least five incidents in Queensland’s win the NSW camp wanted the referees and NRL to read about.
Coaches Daley and Mal Meninga differed at the postmatch conferences on whether Robbie Farah’s head hit the ground in a Justin Hodges’ tackle in which the NSW hooker also injured his shoulder. Billy Slater was not penalised for a shoulder charge on Josh Dugan a split second after Dugan kicked ahead for NSW’s first try.
Slater was not penalised when he fell on to Josh Morris’s back with a forearm, but that was because NSW had already been awarded a penalty.
A Cameron Smith tackle on his own tryline on Mitchell Pearce should have attracted a penalty, the Blues fumed.
There was some complaints about something Nate Myles was supposed to have done, but New South Welshmen blueing about Myles has become the ultimate in boredom.
Blues prop James Tamou said there was “no need’’ for Slater’s flop and that NSW have to “fight fire with fire’’.
So the red rag has been waved furiously in the direction of NSW bulls Beau Scott and Paul Gallen.
Daley is a man under pressure, even though he won last year’s series and his team lost by just a point last week.
Only in NSW would an injured state captain go public about the coach’s tactics.
“Honestly I was shocked at (Trent) Merrin’s minutes,” Gallen told Triple M radio after the Blues forward had been restricted to 19 minutes.
Heaven help the coach if the Blues lose Game Two to hand back the Origin shield.