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Phil Gould has done NSW no favours with the amount of undue pressure he has placed of some of the key players for the Blues this year. Just look at Braith Anasta?s performance for the Broncos last night.
It seems as though Gould?s legacy in the Origin arena will be forever tarnished by his latter years of mediocre results instead of his ability a decade ago to take NSW to back to back to back crowns over the Maroons and earn praise as the most innovative coach and a masterful tactician.
Gould came out this week and put Anasta in the spotlight after Trent Barrett?s season ending ankle injury and Anasta responded by giving the Broncos the key to the locker room. Anasta told all and sundry his game plan, even the bloke down on the corner with his cattle dog and a long neck knew exactly how he would play the game against the Broncos last night. All Brisbane need do was lay in wait for their prey. The end result was a 24-0 flogging at the hands of the Broncos with Anasta?s tactics and performance called into question. It could have been more if not for some dubious refereeing decisions but that is for another editorial.
Barring a miracle of biblical proportions, NSW are on a hiding to nothing this year with both Johns and Anasta playing nowhere near the level expected of them if the Blues are to be successful and bring the shield home. Queensland masquerading as the Broncos with a few outsiders thrown in for good measure will already have Anasta?s number branded on their brains and given that two of Anasta?s team mates in Steve Price and Travis Norton will be playing for the cane toads, it?s a fair chance they will pound him into submission from the opening whistle.
Anasta is yet to show he can mix it with the big boys and play a leading role. He?s still too young and inexperienced and the pressure placed on him by Gould and Anasta himself is having a negative effect on his game.
I have a solution and that is to relegate Anasta to the bench and Gould can inject him into the game in the latter stages of the first half when the Queensland forwards will be sucking in the big ones just to keep up.
Enter Craig Wing. By far and away the most dynamic player NSW have and he is close to the form player of the competition. Wing is simply too hard to handle and his explosive quickness out of dummy half is something even the best teams cannot combat. Wing gives NSW a trump card and Queensland a real need for concern. He is the player to make Wayne Bennett sweat.
Make no mistake, NSW can win the series but it's time we got serious and chose the best men for the job. Craig Wing represents that opportunity for NSW to regain paradise lost. It's up to you now Gus. You have the chance to put the pride back in the blue jumper and that is something Queenslands have always had over us. Pride in the jersey!
We can only hope and pray that Wing is the player to lead us not into salvation, but deliver us from evil. Amen to that.