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Old 01-15-2011, 11:48 PM   #94
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Default Re: Official 2011 Aussie NRL Thread

Originally Posted by teke View Post
Ricky Stuart took the first step towards dismantling Queensland's five-year stranglehold on State of Origin holding a secret meeting with seven of the state's biggest stars.

Locked away in a room at Cronulla's Rydges Hotel for three hours, Stuart unveiled his plan to restore state pride.

He addressed senior NSW players Paul Gallen, Kurt Gidley, Greg Bird, Luke Lewis, Jarryd Hayne and Mitchell Pearce and his backroom staff in his first major assignment as new NSW coach.

"I think we got a fair bit out of it," Bird said. "Everyone gave their opinions on what needs to improve and what they think can be done better. The main thing was to promote a bit of stability, which is probably something we have been lacking.

"Knowing Sticky and what he is about, he is definitely capable of achieving it. He will go away and work on some things after hearing what we all had to say."

In the first indication that he is poised to win a place in Stuart's new-look side, Dally M medal winner Todd Carney was also at the extraordinary meeting.

Players were invited to take ownership of the team and create a culture to match the passion of the all-conquering Maroons.

"It is good to catch up with Ricky and the boys and begin thinking about what we need to do," Gidley said. "It has been a few years since Ricky has been here and he is very excited about the role, as are we. This is where it all begins."

Unveiling his coaching and management team for the very first time, Stuart sat across from former Cronulla playmaker Trent Barrett, trainer Ronnie Palmer and football manager Craig Young. In his opening address, Stuart told the players he wanted to create a stable environment that would provide the platform to topple Mal Meninga and the Maroons.

"All of the guys here have played Origin before with the exception of Carney," Gidley said.

"So it is a good idea to get us all together and have a bit if a chat about what happened last year and also the future."

During the star-studded State of Origin conference, Stuart invited the players to put forward ideas and thoughts on how to improve the side and also the culture.

"There are some things that we can do better, and that's what this has all been about," Gidley said.

"There are some things we can do within the camps and with preparation that will help us improve. Mostly it was about catching up and bouncing around some ideas from the players and from Sticky."

Gidley applauded the NSWRL's move to employ a full-time coach.
"We had a bit of a chat about it and I think it takes a bit of pressure off him because he doesn't need to go back to his club team," Gidley said.

Gidley also backed Stuart to help NSW win back the coveted State of Origin trophy, last won by a Stuart-coached side in 2005.

"For sure," Gidley said. "It is a big possibility and we will go into the series with a lot of confidence."

After the meeting, Stuart took the players out on Port Hacking for a low-key bonding session.

Geez I hope we win again
Shame they didnt hav a few dragons players there....coming off the GF win installs confidence....I thnk the blues need that
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