Daley Unconcerned About NSW Injuries
A few bumps and bruises, a few long-term niggling injuries, a shorter preparation than rivals Queensland, and as many as five out of 17 players who won't be in full training to start the week – none of it worries NSW coach Laurie Daley who says his Game One-winning squad will be fit and raring to go for Origin II next Wednesday.
Skipper Boyd Cordner sat out the Roosters' weekend win over the Wests Tigers with a lingering knee complaint; winger Brett Morris is on reduced training for the rest of his career after some serious knee injuries (and was also eased into training for Origin I); Tyson Frizell picked up a rib issue against Wests Tigers a week before the Origin II teams were named; and Cronulla pair Jack Bird and Wade Graham each hurt a knee or lower leg in a loss to the Storm on Thursday.
None of the five will launch straight into full training but Daley's only gripe was that the Maroons squad was almost to a man finished up with Round 14 by Saturday evening while nine of Daley's 17 were in action on Sunday or Monday (which would have been 10 had Cordner not sat out).
The fact Daley was able to name an unchanged 17 – the first time in 21 years the Blues have gone unchanged between Origins – would assist given the reduced preparation time.
"It's very important [to have team continuity] given they've had a couple of extra days than what we have to prepare," Daley said.
"That's a helluva difference in terms of recovery so we've had to restructure our training plan."
That will include those five players on reduced duties.
"They did a medical this morning and all those guys were fine. The normal knocks and bruises but none of them are in any doubt. All our guys are fit and healthy," Daley said.
"[Frizell] is a lot better than what it was after he played the Tigers. We've had an eight-day recovery for him so he has no worries at all. He'll manage it but we expect him to be full on training by Friday which is a bonus."
Cordner's knee is an ongoing issue, according to Daley, with Cordner himself dismissing any concerns. http://www.nrl.com/cordner-dismisses-injury-talk/tabid/10874/newsid/108864/default.aspx
"He felt it was better for him to have that week off so he can put some work into it because it pulled up a little bit sore after the Broncos game," Daley said.
"He just wanted to make sure he could get it right. He's another one that won't train until Thursday or Friday but definitely be right by Friday.
"It's just to see how he goes because we don't want to throw too much into him early in the week. He's really looked after himself and if we take it easy on him early in the week, by Friday he should be 100 per cent which is great news."
Brett Morris's issue is "just a wear and tear injury that he carries and that's normal for him so there's no worries," Daley said, while Bird and Graham will also start on light duties.
"Birdy and Wade both injured their leg last Thursday but they should both be right to train on Friday," Daley added.
The coach will need his troops fit and firing as they look to claim what would be just the second series win since 2005 for the Blues, with the Maroons bolstered by the returns of some high-class veterans and the inclusion of some promising debutants.
"When you look at it, you're welcoming back two future Immortals [in Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater] so that gives them a head start straight away," Daley said.
"Probably one of the most promising young forwards we've seen in the game in a long time in young [Coen] Hess. Those three players alone, then you throw in guys like [Gavin] Cooper, [Jarrod] Wallace, [Tim] Glasby, they've got a lot more attack and a lot more leg speed and defensive capabilities around the middle."
Daley said he was happy to see long-time tormenter Thurston back in the interstate arena after an explosive return to football against the Eels in Darwin on Saturday.
"I think it was the best thing for us knowing they've got a champion coming back into their team and he hit the ground running straight away [against Parramatta]," he said.
"If you want to win you've got to beat the best and Queensland are at their best and they've got their best players in, that's why it's a massive challenge for us to see where we're at."
This article first appeared on NRL.com