Bellamy's days numbered if Blues don't stop Maroon machine
NSW coach Craig Bellamy and captain Kurt Gidley last night declared the Blues needed to ''toughen up'' if they were to stop Queensland from farewelling Darren Lockyer with a record fifth consecutive series win in Origin II at Suncorp Stadium.
Despite his disappointment at the NSW performance, Bellamy indicated he would want to stick with the majority of the squad that was again outclassed last night at ANZ Stadium by a Maroons outfit missing inspirational hooker Cameron Smith.
But the Blues brains trust said the NSW players would have to improve significantly and conceded Queensland may have a psychological edge over them after winning nine of the past 11 matches when the series has been alive.
Under pressure ... Craig Bellamy Photo: Ryan Osland
''At times it is not only a physical thing, it is a mental thing and at certain stages of that game we needed to stand up and be counted and we probably didn't do that,'' Bellamy said.
Gidley added: ''They are a great team and they have been playing together for a while but we need to toughen up a bit more defensively, I think. We have let in a lot of points tonight and probably in game one and two last year as well, so it is a bit of an issue we need to address''.
Should the Blues lose again, Bellamy's time in charge of the team is almost certain to be over as he is already the only NSW coach in Origin history to survive back-to-back series defeats.
State of Origin - game one from Homebush
Jamie Lyon and Kurt Gidley pressure Queensland fullback Billy Slater. Photo: Quentin Jones
But the two-time premiership-winning mentor dismissed suggestions he faced the biggest challenge of his coaching career to try to stop the Maroons from continuing their domination in Brisbane.
''I don't know if it is one of the biggest challenges of my coaching career but it is a big challenge for NSW,'' he said. ''Hopefully we can stick with most of the same team and improve in a couple of areas and go up there and give them a run for their money.''
Admitting last night's match felt like ''Groundhog Day'', Bellamy said he was particularly disappointed that Queensland were allowed to score 28 points in the boggy conditions at ANZ Stadium.
Jamal Idris talks about his Origin debut after Queensland's victory over NSW in game one on a wet night at Homebush.
''Their first try came the first time they got into our 20-metre zone, their second try came the second time they got in our 20-metre zone and that just isn't good enough,'' he said.
''A couple of their tries came from us not working together defensively. We've got big, strong guys there but we need to work together. If one guy is doing one thing and another is doing something else, they have got the players in their team that will make you pay. They were certainly too good. I thought we were tenacious at times but other times we weren't and in the end that cost us - again.''
Asked where the Blues go from here, he said: ''Good question. I will just have to sit down and look at the tape and go from there. I don't know if we have to be perfect but we just need to be stronger at different parts of the game and at different times of the game.''
Last night's loss is set to prompt calls for the likes of Trent Barrett, Mitchell Pearce, Greg Bird, Paul Gallen, Jason King, Kade Snowden and even Josh Dugan to come into the NSW side.
But Bellamy said he would try to avoid mass changes.
''I think one thing we probably have been guilty of in the past is making too many changes and hopefully we won't do that but we'll have a look at the tape,'' he said.
''I thought this was our most talented team that I have coached in Origin, to be quite honest, so we have just got to get a bit of grit to that talent at certain stages of the match.
''Queensland are certainly on a roll and have been for four or five years. I suppose we need to do that sort of thing and keep this team together and get that confidence and belief of playing with each other.''