Newly-appointed NSW coach Laurie Daley says he wants former Blues’ mentor Ricky Stuart to play a significant role in his attempt to wrest the State of Origin shield back from Queensland.
Confirmed on Tuesday as the man to lead the Blues for the next two campaigns, Daley said he would lean heavily on Stuart – who was unable to break Queensland’s seven-year stranglehold on the series while in charge the past two years.
Stuart gave up the post when he signed on to be Parramatta’s NRL coach in 2013, Daley admitting his former Canberra teammate’s involvement would only be limited by his commitments to the Eels.
“We’re planning on meeting later this week – he’ll have a huge influence on next year’s series,” Daley said of Stuart.
“While he won’t be the coach, I’ve already indicated to him that I want him to be a big part of the team and, time permitting, he’ll give me everything that I need.
“For me, that gives me a great deal of confidence.
“We’re great mates – we go back a long way. I would love nothing more than to win and Ricky still be on board.
“Ricky over the last two years has created something special within this group of men and I’m looking to finish off that job.”
Daley said it was still too early to say whether he would stick with the nucleus of players which narrowly failed to dethrone the Maroons in this year’s series, though he did indicate he was hoping to retain the majority of Stuart’s support staff in 2013.