Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Incoming NSW coach Craig Bellamy believes the Blues may have tried too hard to emulate Queensland's 'maroon passion' in recent Origin series.
The Melbourne premiership-winning mentor said the Blues needed to find what worked for them if they were to prevent a third straight series loss.
NSW players last year took offence to claims the Queenslanders had more pride in their jersey and vowed to up the ante in the passion stakes.
It failed dismally as the Maroons flexed their muscle to take a 2-0 series lead before going down in the dead rubber at Suncorp Stadium.
"What works for Queensland doesn't necessarily work for us so we've got to find what's really important for us and build on that," Bellamy said at the ARL's representative season launch at Sydney ANZ Stadium.
"We don't need to be doing something just because another footy team does it."
Bellamy, who never scaled the heights of Origin football as a player, admitted he didn't know what to expect once the series rolled around, with game one to be held at ANZ Stadium on May 21.
But despite Blues legends Andrew Johns and Steve Roach being part of Bellamy's staff for the three-game series, the Storm coach said he wouldn't follow Queensland's lead of surrounding himself with too many former greats.
Everywhere you turn in a Maroon camp a Maroons legend isn't too far away with Mal Meninga (coach), Chris Close (manager), Steve Walters (manager), Trevor Gillmeister (trainer), Bob Lindner (media manager) and Kevin Walters all involved in some capacity.
Bellamy said he would stick to what worked well with the Storm, not a bad idea considering Melbourne have been the NRL's benchmark for the last two seasons.
"Certainly the way I coach and my beliefs and what's important in a footy team, basically they'll be the same," he said.
"I won't change my basic beliefs in how I coach a footy team.
"That's what I am, that's what I believe in so I ain't going to change that."
And while Bellamy claims the Maroons will go into the series as favourites, Meninga said there was no such thing as an Origin underdog.
"There's no overwhelming favourites when it comes to Origin football," Meninga said.
"I've been around since day dot and if you look at the statistics where the teams now stand with wins and losses - they're very similar.
"We've got to come down here and play twice down here and play against a well-motivated Blues side which will be well coached."