Coach Laurie Daley says the next NSW State of Origin captain will be told a month or two before the 2017 series so he can be fully prepared.
On the same day NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres turned the first sod at the site of the Blues’ new home in Homebush, Daley named five players in contention to succeed Paul Gallen as skipper in 2017.
And former Blues hero and code-hopper Jarryd Hayne isn’t one of them, despite his rock-star return to the NRL for Gold Coast over the past fortnight.
“He might’ve been someone we may have looked at but at the moment I wouldn’t like to put that sort of pressure on him,” Daley said on Wednesday.
“The guys that stand out from this year’s series have been your (Aaron) Woods’, (Boyd) Cordners, Josh Jacksons, your Wade Grahams, the younger breed that are coming through.
“They’re the guys you look to as your next leader. They’re all in the frame but that won’t be decided until next year.”
Daley said he would speak to players, club coaches and Gallen himself before putting forward a captaincy recommendation to the NSWRL board next year.
Game one will be played at Suncorp Stadium with dates yet to be finalised.
“We’ll let whoever it is know a month or two beforehand, as long as they’re fit,” Daley said.
“There’s a great responsibility with being the captain. I’m sure that we’ll talk about that with them and work through anything they need any help with and see how they go from there.”
The NSWRL’s $20 million facility is being half-funded by the state government and will be the new home of the men’s and women’s Origin teams and host the Blues’ emerging team camps.
A full-size training field is expected to be ready to use by the end of this year, with the facility to be built by the end of next year, directly across the road from ANZ Stadium.
Ayres is proud to have invested in the Blues’ new digs.
“If we want to see our State of Origin team perform year in, year out we’ve got to embed that high performance culture right from junior sport all the way to the top,” he said.
“This is what this facility is about doing. Since the closure of Phillip Street it’s probably fair to say NSWRL hasn’t had a real home and so this allows us to bring all the administrative support and facilities together with the high performance pathways.”