Daley's passion drives blueprint for NSW victory

MICHAEL CHAMMAS
Last updated 05:00 22/06/2014
Laurie Daley
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LAURIE DALEY: "It's an amazing feeling; our supporters have been disappointed for last eight years."

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He didn't know it at the time but during a meeting in 2010, Laurie Daley helped sow the seeds for what would eventually become his finest hour in rugby league.

Among the 96 people Brian Canavan interviewed as part of his report, commissioned by the NSW Rugby League, into the Blues' approach and structure around the State of Origin was the then-Blues selector, Daley.

Despite having interviewed the likes of Wayne Bennett and Phil Gould during his consultancy work for the NSWRL, Canavan still recalls his interview with Daley.

"It started off as a serious, low-key conversation. But Laurie then progressively became more passionate and more animated. By the end of it, both of us wanted to go out there and play Origin," the now Roosters chief operating officer said.

"I reckon I had a good hour and a half with him. I just saw this incredibly passionate rugby league person, who was passionate about his state and would do anything to ensure the progress of players and his state's performance. It came as no surprise to me that he was later appointed head coach."

Having met almost 100 people during his research, the fact that Canavan remembers Daley's input almost four years later says a lot about the man who finally led NSW to a series victory on Wednesday night, after preparation that included learning from the All Blacks coaching setup.

The most significant part of Canavan's report was the recommendation to employ a full-time Origin coach, which would later become Ricky Stuart.

But three of the suggestions Daley put forward in his meeting with Canavan were all included in the report filed to the NSWRL, and have been reflected in his reign as NSW coach.

"The first thing he wanted was the whole of the state to be passionate about their team, not just the Sydney-based people going to the game," Canavan said.

"The second thing he wanted was a change of culture within the group. That was very evident in the Queensland team and he wanted NSW culture to change.

"The third thing he wanted was that we should know the names of all the potential elite junior players coming into the system. He felt strongly about NSW's long-term strategies."

Right from the get-go, Daley was a man on a mission.

He's changed the culture of the Blues, he's overhauled their preparations by moving to Coffs Harbour and has taken many unorthodox steps.

"The most impressive thing about Laurie's first part of his tenure was the fact that as soon as he got the job, even though Origin was six months away, he started picking people's brains," longtime NSW administrator Geoff Carr said.

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"I still remember the discussions he was having with the All Blacks coach [Steve Hansen]. That particular relationship developed to the point where Laurie has been involved in All Blacks preparation to look at what they do. He talked to a wide variety of coaches, he looked at best practice models in coaching."

- Sydney Morning Herald

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