Blues aim to tighten screw

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The National – Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SYDNEY: NSW coach Ricky Stuart says his confidence heading into to­night’s State of Origin II stems from the fact things cannot get any worse for the Blues than they did in the series opener.
Stuart said the Blues would head to ANZ Sta­dium tonight confident they could finally bring down the mighty Queensland outfit, after coming so close in game one despite being starved of possession.
“This team will never, ever be in a style of game like that again,” Stuart said yesterday.
“They might have the same (possession), but it can’t get any worse.”
The Blues had the ball for just 127 runs compared to 185 for the Maroons at Suncorp Stadium, with Queensland – led by their dominant front row rotation – rumbling for 1503m to just 1117m for NSW.
Somehow, the Blues still managed to sneak ahead via a Michael Jennings try in the 69th minute. But whether it was down to nerves or the amount of defensive work they had endured, NSW succumbed to the Maroons yet again.
“You can’t win an NRL game on the amount of possession we had in game one, it’s even harder with this type of challenge in front of us with this (Queensland) team,” Stuart said.
“It would be a nice to get a greater share of possession than what we got last game – an even amount would be terrific.
“We showed last time that we could still be leading (with the discrepancy in possession).
“I think our inexperience came to the fore in the last eight minutes of that game.
“I’d like to think we’ve learnt a valuable lesson.
“We’ve shown what we can do with a lack of possession, we now just hope we can get a little more ball.”
The Blues have adopted a siege mentality in the lead-up to Origin II, shutting the media and the general public out of all but their opening training session last week.
Stuart denied there was anything secret or sinister in the behind-closed-doors approach, with skipper Paul Gallen insisting the Blues were doing all they could to ensure all their focus was on tonight’s game.
“There’s nothing secret going on – it’s an us-versus-them thing,” Gallen said.
“We just want to get our preparation right, we don’t need distractions, it’s just time to worry about footy now and get things right.” – APP