Fresh Origin fiasco ‘stinks’
FORMER NSW star Mark Geyer has exploded over the Blues' response to another disastrous Origin campaign.
The on-field performances weren't good enough as Laurie Daley's men lost games two and three to surrender their 11th series in 12 years. Then came the accusations of a poor culture in the Origin set-up following reports Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson were drinking for eight hours at a pub on their day off just five days before the decider.
But NSW Rugby League on Thursday defended the team's culture, clearing Dugan and Ferguson of being drunk and "acting like clowns" and further denying other issues had impacted the Blues in the lead-up.
But Geyer - who represented NSW three times - was left seething by the suggestion nothing was amiss in camp. He accused those involved with rugby league in NSW of sticking their hands in the sand and refusing to confront the ugly truth that is evident to Blues supporters everywhere.
"I know one thing is for sure. The whole thing about State of Origin at the moment stinks," Geyer said on the Triple M Grill Team.
"When we have the head of the NSW Rugby League (David Trodden) putting his head in the sand and saying we haven't got a cultural problem, forget about what's happening with the individual players at the moment, something's wrong.
"We've lost 11 series out of 12 - something's wrong. It doesn't take us as ex-rugby league players to know something's wrong. The man on the street's telling us something's wrong every day. My mum and dad ring me up and go, 'What's wrong with NSW?'
"Something's wrong. Since game three all we've spoken about is player behaviour ... we lost the game, we lost the series again, we've lost 11 out of 12 series. Something is wrong with NSW rugby league.
"And when the main man Mr Trodden comes out and says, 'No, these players haven't got anything to face as far as discipline goes,' I'm sorry but they have. They've brought their team into disrepute.
"They've made headlines for the wrong reasons and it's affected everyone. You could tell by game three that they had something on their mind ... and now we're reading about it you can see why."
Blues players after their game three defeat.
Blues players after their game three defeat.Source:Getty Images
Fellow league legend Matty Johns agreed, saying Dugan and Ferguson's attitude was far worse than the act of having a few beers.
"It's not the act, it's the attitude," he said. "It's the attitude of saying, 'This is how I'm going to prepare for probably the most important rugby league game of my life.'
"At the moment from the outside looking in at NSW it looks like every man for himself."
Matty Johns' radical plan to save Blues
LEAGUE legend Matthew Johns says New South Wales need a culture overhaul if they are to end the rot of Queensland dominance in the State of Origin arena.
New South Wales were played off the park by the Maroons in the Origin decider and Blues' stars Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson have come under criticism for their preparation.
The two Blues stars spent eight hours at Lennox Head drinking on the Friday before the Origin decider, and despite the New South Wales rugby league clearing the pair, Johns says he would not consider both for the interstate series again, slamming their attitude.
"When you lose 11 of 12 series, it's more than football," Johns told The Late Show with Matty Johns. "Now for me, them (Dugan and Ferguson) going to the pub and having a few grog, it's not the act, it's the attitude. Because at the end of the day that's how they chose to prepare for perhaps the biggest rugby league game of their life.
"A game that was so important, that's how they prepare, and for that reason if you're looking for a change of attitude and what's best for New South Wales, you can't pick them."
For Johns, it is about sending a message of intent to the New South Wales players, that the past decade has not been good enough.
The former Blues half even came up with a stunning proposal to ensure that the New South Wales players go into the series with the correct approach, one of passion and true commitment.
"New South Wales we need a culture change," Johns said.
"Have we got people in the team that are doing it for the right reason? When a player gets selected for New South Wales, win, lose or draw, they get $30,000.
"They deserve it because it's the toughest of all the rugby codes in the world, it's the toughest.
"But I tell you what would be a really interesting experiment.
"The week before selection you bring the 30 players who are in for contention and you sit them down and you say to them, 'tell you what we're going to do this year. There's no $30,000 appearance fee. You're going to get $40,000 if you win, but you get nothing if you lose'.
"Go away, have a think about it, if you're not happy and you don't want to play, notify us. It would be an easy way to clean them out. Because I tell you, Jake Trbojevic, that bloke would pay $30,000 to play State of Origin and that's what we need to win a series."
Former New South Wales coach Tommy Raudonikis has also joined the criticism of Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson.
Raudonikis' players certainly enjoyed themselves in Origin camp when the former Magpies boss was coach, but the Blues legend said the Dugan-Ferguson incident was very different.
"Laurie Daley, I thought you had more control over your players," Raudonikis told The Footy Show. "Ferguson and Dugan spent eight hours on the grog, they showed no respect. They should have showed you more respect, they let you down."
Raudonikis hit out at the New South Wales management for the way they handled preparation after the Blues terrific performance in Origin I.
The former Blues coach said they allowed a 'cancer' to develop and it proved the downfall of New South Wales' Origin campaign.
"I think this is where all the trouble started, you went down to Kingscliff and you won well - everything was terrific," Raudonikis said.
"Then why, why did you go back to Sydney, to The Star casino, into camp. Why? It's like waiving a red flag in front of a bull.
"All the players down there are getting patted on the back, reading the papers saying how good they are 'this is the new era for New South Wales' - wonderful.
"They started believing it and how many of them blokes would have broken camp, I heard of a few.
"It makes you livid, the cancer had already started. They went onto that paddock on Wednesday night and were never a hope."