An Open Letter to Laurie Daley

Dear Laurie,

Huge fan. First time caller, long time viewer. In fact, I remember the 1994 Kangaroo tour, staying up to the wee hours watching you tear the Englishman apart. Game 2 of that series was a particular standout, you were sensational in a do or die match. You dominated and you regained the Ashes for your country.

I remember the first footy game played at Stadium Australia, your last Origin in Sydney. I was there; in the rain; nosebleed section; the brand new, $100bn roof leaked on my mate. You led us to victory. Scored a magnificent try and buried your face in the hallowed turf in celebration. You were better than the King at times, a better leader. You were better than Mal, Alfie, Walters, the lot of them. The hit you put on that clown of a Queenslander, Andrew Gee, was a thing of beauty.

Laurie, I honestly hope the following does not sound impertinent in any way.

Please, Loz, please let Trent Hodkinson play. Don't drop him after 1 game or 1 series. Like you did with the others. Please.Β 

Jarrod Mullen was only 19. Dropped due to injury but never picked again. Peter Wallace also deserved another chance after rupturing a testicle for his state. Terry Campese actually played well on debut, never to be seen again. Jamie Soward gave you his all, set up a match winner. Todd Carney played himself into Origin folklore, performing like a superstar in the 2012 decider. That sideline conversion, at Suncorp, to tie the game - my god. Deserved selection last year. You owed him one.

And then you picked James Maloney. This kid has all the skills. Would have only gotten better with another shot at Origin. NRL form doesn't translate; a players' will to succeed always does. Maloney, like the others, just needed time in the saddle to find his best. He was ready, just like Carney was. All these guys had that will. It took some of them years to rebuild the confidence you shattered. Don't do it to Hokko, please mate.

You've previously gone out on a limb for Mitchell Pearce, backing him as you should; please now do the same for Hokko. Selectors went out on a limb for you after you β€˜failed' to dominate your first series. Then you played 22 more games for the Mighty Blues and you even held up the Shield once or twice. Kids now dreaming of playing for New South Wales have never seen us hold up that Shield.

Mate, Lozza, I'm not smart enough to know if this is the best team we could have picked, but with Grub, Haynesy, Robbie and Hokko playing together, they will get better if you let them. They will be great. Even if Wednesday night is the worst performance you have seen, pick Trent again and watch him run through a brick wall for you.


Your average rugby league punter.