originCrikey Sports introduces Nick Tedeschi who writes for Punting Ace with his weekly From The Couch article  — “one of the most popular rugby league pieces anywhere.”

Punting Ace’s Nick Tedeschi writes:

One would like to think that after Wednesday night’s humiliation at the hands of Queensland that not only will a broom be put through the New South Wales cupboard but that the cupboard will be burned to the ground, the ashes dropped to the bottom of the ocean and the location of their whereabouts never revealed.

The term humiliation does not adequately describe the total annihilation of Wednesday evening. The talented Queensland team not only defeated New South Wales for a record fifth straight series, winning the match 34-6. They disgraced the Blues, handing New South Wales arguably the most brutal beating ever dished out in State of Origin football. It was an embarrassment of the highest order for rugby league in New South Wales. It was total degradation, an unmitigated disaster, full destruction in complete public view.

It will, one would hope, be the end of the road for a good many in the New South Wales camp. New South Wales have no choice but to start again. New selectors. A new coach. New management. New players. A new philosophy. This wouldn’t be the case if some forward thinking was shown over the last few years but, alas, it was not and now game three must be used to launch a new era.

That, of course, will mean farewell and goodbye to many Blues. Few will ever be seen at representative level again.

The selectors, of course, need to be the first to go. Bob McCarthy, Bob Fulton, Laurie Daley and Geoff Gerard have been culpable of such egregious selection errors over such a long period of time that it is quite remarkable they have all kept their jobs for so long. From the failure to build for the future to the constant chopping and changing of key position players, the belief in selecting defensive outside backs and the failure to name even a reasonable number of prop forwards in Origin II, the selectors have been central to the position the Blues now find themselves in. There should rightfully be rioting in the street if these four men keep their jobs for Origin III.

Craig Bellamy is a fine club coach but it has become quite apparent over the last three years that he is not cut out for the New South Wales job. He has lost six of eight matches and three consecutive series. No coach has survived two series losses. It is not so much the fact New South Wales have lost three consecutive series, however, that should see Bellamy’s head in the chopping block. It is his role in team selection, his inability to build for the future, his failure to bring in a capable coaching staff and his incapacity to inspire his players to peak performance that should see him immediately dismissed. He must be replaced by a coach without club commitments, a leader of men like Chris Anderson or Phil Gould.

Of the players who have played in the two Origin encounters so far this year, only Nathan Hindmarsh, Mitchell Pearce, Brett Morris, Jarryd Hayne, Michael Weyman and, at a stretch, Paul Gallen should keep their places for Origin III. After Nathan Hindmarsh’s inspiring performance, he should be named skipper.

A number of players should have their card marked “Never to Play Origin Again”. Matt Cooper heads this list after yet another inept display. Trent Barrett, because of his age and impending retirement, joins him. Brett White has had eight opportunities in the Blue jersey and considering his performances that is eight opportunities too many. Luke O’Donnell was once again a hot-headed liability who embarrassed the New South Wales jersey. None of these players should ever play Origin football again.

In years to come, only rugby league trivia buffs will remember Beau Scott and Tom Learoyd-Lars wore the sky blue. It seems highly improbable that either will ever get another opportunity at Origin level. The same is true of Joel Monaghan, whose defensive deficiencies will ensure he never represents his state again.

Trent Waterhouse, Ben Creagh, Michael Ennis and Kurt Gidley may get opportunities in the future but there are better options available and at any rate, other players are deserving of an opportunity at Origin level.

The time to start fresh is now. Fresh faces are needed at every level. There is no point in waiting until next year. That will just be passing over yet another opportunity to build something. And New South Wales officials have passed over far too many opportunities to walk beyond another.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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