NSW might be staring down the barrel of a second successive State of Origin series loss but Laurie Daley insists he’s not feeling the pressure heading into game two.
Daley’s job will be on the line should his side suffer a repeat of last year’s embarrassing 52-6 defeat at the hands of Queensland.
Craig Bellamy is the only NSW coach to have survived losing two straight series but Daley says he’s not feeling the heat.
“What I do, I love,” Daley said on Tuesday.
“There’s more people going through more stress or pressure in their lives than what I do.
“I’m a guy who is very thankful for the position he has. I love it and it’s certainly not stressful.”
Blues great Tommy Raudonikis said Daley “has to go” if the Blues fail to salvage the series at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday.
Blues great Andrew Johns and the state’s most successful coach Phil Gould have been highly critical of Daley’s approach, as has former NSW forward Mark Geyer.
Daley is contracted until 2017 and NSWRL chief executive Dave Trodden has thrown his support behind the coach.
He was responsible for guiding the team to their 2014 series win but a loss next Wednesday would see the side slump to their third series defeat in four years under his coaching.
Daley is also sweating on Wednesday night’s judiciary hearing where back-rower Wade Graham will fight a high tackle charge in a bid to make his debut.
Graham’s elation at being selected to replace the injured Boyd Cordner was soured on Tuesday when he was charged for an ugly high shot on Johnathan Thurston in Cronulla’s 13-10 win on Monday night.
The 25-year-old will be rubbed out of next Wednesday’s game unless he can successfully beat the charge.
“He brings something a little bit different to the team,” Daley said of Graham.
“While we’re disappointed to lose Boyd – and Boyd was our best player in game one – it gives us an opportunity to use Wade.
“He plays left side, it’s important too that he plays club football with Jimmy Maloney. So there’s a good combination there straight away, so that’s the main thing for me.”