Mal Meninga says Laurie Daley should stay as NSW State of Origin coach

Mal Meninga (L) is backing Laurie Daley to remain as the New South Wales Blues' State of Origin rugby league coach.
Scott Barbour

Mal Meninga (L) is backing Laurie Daley to remain as the New South Wales Blues' State of Origin rugby league coach.

After years of trying to bring Laurie Daley down in the State of Origin arena, one of the greatest Queenslanders of them all, Mal Meninga, has backed the under-fire Blues coach to remain in the role.

Daley is off contract after five series at the helm, during which NSW have hoisted the shield on just one occasion. Daley is yet to declare whether he wants to coach on, saying it will be a "couple of weeks" before he makes a call. There is already a push for the likes of Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler to replace Daley after the Blues put in a shocker in the Suncorp Stadium decider.

Daley and Meninga were teammates at Canberra during the club's golden period but  the fiercest of rivals on the field, and in the coaching box, at Origin time.

Meninga, now the Kangaroos coach after stepping down from Maroons duty two years ago, backed Daley.

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"There is no more passionate man than Laurie Daley and his love of the blue jersey," Meninga said. "He's one of the most competitive fellas I've met as well. He's a good fella and the players have been talking highly favourably about him, about their preparation. At the end of the day it comes down to the players."

Should Daley step down, there is every chance his chief adviser, Peter Sterling, will follow suit.

"If the players are your biggest advocate, why change?" Meninga said. "The players have talked about Laurie in glowing terms and they are your best advocates, the players.

"They certainly have the makings of a really good footy team, they just didn't perform the way they wanted to last Wednesday. Ican't see that team changing too much, there might be some other players on the fringe like a Tom Trbojevic, Jordan McLean and Reagan Campbell-Gillard, they are all good talents."

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 - Sydney Morning Herald

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