NSW coach Laurie Daley has turned the blowtorch on Queensland, claiming they are the ones under pressure to win game two of the State of Origin series – not him.
After taking game one in Sydney, the Maroons are heavy favourites to lift the Origin shield for the 10th time in 11 years on Wednesday night and hand Daley what would be his third failed campaign in four series.
NSW icon Tommy Raudonokis has led a chorus of those calling for Daley’s head if the Blues lose again, however the Canberra legend continues to shrug off the criticism.
“I’m quite immune to what’s going on. All I’m worried about is trying to get this team to win game two,” Daley said ahead of the team’s captain’s run on Tuesday.
“Who knows, Queensland might be the ones under pressure. They’re expected to win.”
Daley said losing wouldn’t be the end of the world for him.
“There’s pressure on both sides but for me personally, it’s not a pressure job,” he said.
“It’s a job that I love and enjoy. There’s people out there doing it a lot tougher than me and if I lose a game of football, it’s not the worst thing that’s going to happen to me.”
Despite mounting pressure for the Blues to release the shackles and abandon their conservative play, Daley insists he will stick to his guns and attempt to limit the Maroons’ legendary attack.
He says the Blues have rarely put any scoreboard pressure on the Maroons.
“I think if you look through Origin history, NSW haven’t put together scorelines on Queensland. And if you go and have a look, there’s not too many times we’ve scored 20-plus or more,” he said.
“We’re comfortable if we can get enough points, we can defend. We were criticised for our attack (in game one), but we scored the same amount of tries as Queensland and they’re a great team.”
Daley also backed referees boss Tony Archer’s decision to retain officials Ben Cummins and Gerard Sutton for game two, despite calling for the pair not to be selected after game one.
“He believes that these two guys are the best referees and I’ve got no reason to doubt him,” he said.
“I’m sure they’ll come up here with an open mind and referee the game to the best of their ability. It’s a tough job, I certainly wouldn’t want to be a referee.”