However, NSW showed enough in the first game to suggest they will be tough to beat in front of what is sure to be a volatile home crowd, thirsty for any sort of success. The Blues certainly did step it up a notch and all the talk out of their camp so far this week has been about how they were the better team in Game 1. Jennings, with comments sure to light a fire under the Queenslanders came out on Monday and said “We were the better team on the day in game one and we did deserve better...” On Wednesday night the Blues get their chance to turn talk in to action.
Coach Ricky Stuart made two changes to the side that went down 18-10 in Melbourne, one through necessity and the other to tweak the balance of his squad. Penrith mountain man Tim Grant nabs a starting jersey in the front row for his debut replacing the injured Manly mountain man Tony Williams while Anthony Watmough comes in for the dropped Jamie Buhrer. Paul Gallen will shift back to lock and Greg Birg, Glenn Stewart and Luke Lewis will provide the utility cover for the Blues. Like Queensland, NSW will carry four forwards on the bench, with Stuart banking o Robbie Farah being able to play close to the 80 minutes out of dummy half.
Meanwhile, Mal has stayed true to the old adage that ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it’ by naming an unchanged squad, with Corey Parker the only new face as 18th man. Parker gets a run as cover for Matt Scott who will remain with his ill mother until Thursday and Ashley Harrison who is carrying a groin niggle. Both are expected to play.
In a perplexing move, video referee from Game 1, Sean Hampstead has been axed in favour of Stuart Clark despite referee’s boss Bill Harrigan coming out after the game and saying that Hampstead got the controversial Inglis call exactly right. Debutant whistleblower Matt Cecchin has also been replaced by the experienced Tony Archer who will officiate along with Ben Cummins.
In other news, the Australian rugby league world was rocked on Tuesday by the resignation of ARLC Chief Executive David Gallop. Gallop, CEO of the NRL since February 2002, stood down following a “mutual agreement” between himself and ARLC Chairman John Grant and the desire to bring a “fresh approach” to the direction of the game. Gallop admitted the timing of his departure was not ideal but said given the focus of the ARLC it was best to resign immediately. "It's been a privilege for me to lead the game over the last 10 years and see the game's resurgence,” Gallop said. "Given there's never a good time to give effect to a decision such as this, the commission and I have both determined it's best for me to depart immediately. It has been an exhilarating and challenging period, but no one can do this job forever.” There has been no comment yet as to who will replace him.
Adam Schoenmaker is a high school chaplain in the northern suburbs of Brisbane for three days each week and serves two days a week in his local church. Adam loves a good book, a classic album and all Queensland sporting teams.
Adam Schoenmaker archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/adam-schoenmaker.html