Selective Loyalty: The Curse of the New South Wales Blues

27 May

NSW Gidley

Nepotism: favouritism granted to relatives regardless of merit.

Following this year’s series the New South Wales selectors need to be sacked.  I have had enough of the politics involved in NSW origin selections and the absolute rubbish that is used to justify their decisions.

The simple fact is that NSW origin selectors practice what I like to call ‘selective loyalty’. Over the past few years there has been two main benefactors; Mitchell ‘the myth’ Pearce and Kurt ‘ the bench’ Gidley.  These individuals are a part of the  Rugby League Mafia, The boys club, The Rugby League family. Being constantly shielded and protected by former players and some sections of the media.

Pearce and Gidley,  have under performed at origin level for a number of series and have always managed to get re-selected. I don’t know who Mitchell Pearce is paying but he is the Teflon man. Last years series he was completely out of his depth. He provided little attacking options and his kicking game was so inept that I felt embarrassed for him. The only positive that anyone could muster  is that he is a solid defender. Brilliant! A defensive half back. The most attacking position on the field and the best thing we can up with is, that he is a great defender. Hmmm I must have missed his amazing defence last year when Jonathon Thurston stepped around him, leading to Queensland  running 80 metres to score a match winning try. This may be a crazy concept but I want my half back to be creative and have the stability of a good kicking game. Both of which Pearce does not possess.

Mitchel Pearce is a mechanical footballer. He doesn’t read what is in front of him. He simply executes the play he has decided to do prior to receiving the ball regardless of what the defense is doing. Everything he does is premeditated and in turn is extremely predictable.

He doesn’t have a football brain. Nothing is intuitive. It is all rote learned.

The Sydney Roosters finished the 2012 season in 13th place (4th last) . How is this possible with the NSW half back at the helm? South finished 3rd  and were 1 win away from the grandfinal. Halfback Adam Reynolds was influential in making this happen.

After last years performance I thought it would have had to take an incredible  start to 2013 for Mitchell Pearce to retain his NSW origin spot. Apparently not.  I have watched every Roosters game this year and he hasn’t improved at all. His kicking game is woeful and passing game is premeditated.  The only thing that has changed is that the roosters have built a team around Pearce to accommodate for his lack of creativity.  Just like in Formula 1 it has become more about the performance of the car than the actual drivers ability. Currently Souths are leading the competition, with Reynolds polling Daly M points in 4 games as opposed to Mitchel Pearce having polled points in only  1 game.

Incredibly Pearce was assured of his spot in the NSW 2013 side very early in the season regardless of his form. With coach Laurie Daley quoting that NSW have to stay loyal to the past players.  Laurie is the kind of guy that would keep relying on a car that constantly breaks down  instead of buying a new one. “well this car isn’t very reliable and rarely does the job but I am used to it”. Pretty familiar rationale don’t you think?

But due to loyalty Pearce is selected. Ok a bit of loyalty I understand and I can even appreciate it, but I fail to see any consistency when it comes to this so-called, ‘loyalty’.What happened to Todd Carney and Tim Grant’s loyalty? Is NSW loyalty finite? Does NSW only get allocated a certain amount of it?  Carney hasn’t set the world alight this year but I don’t believe his form has been any worse than Pearce’s, yet all of a sudden his selection is performance based. If we use’ Daley’s method of selection’ that applied to Mitchell Pearce then shouldn’t Carney also be selected. After all, it was the combination we used last year.

Further to this debacle, the biggest reason given for not selecting Adam Reynolds over Mitchell Pearce  is that he doesn’t have origin experience.  Well how much experience does James’ Maloney have???? Absolutely none! Then why was he selected over Carney? It is one massive contradiction. I find it hard to fathom. All I hear is that Adam Reynolds doesn’t have any origin experience. Have we all forgotten that Jamie Soward played 3 origins? If he can play I am sure Adam Reynolds can handle it.

What about Tim Grant? He had a solid series last year and was one of the only forwards that manned up against Queensland. He hasn’t been afforded the same loyalties as Mitchell Pearce. Simply pushed aside for another debutant. It seems the only person who cannot be pushed aside for a debutant is Mitchell Pearce.

Then Daley comes out and says that he selected Maloney because he has a ‘calming influence’ on Pearce out on the field. Well that will do me! Not only have they built the Roosters team around Pearce to accommodate for his lack of ability, now we are selecting players to baby him at origin level. If I was Cooper Cronk and Jonothan Thurston I would be laughing my head off. You never know, Thurtson might start pushing for his team-mate Robert Lui to get start next year just  to make him feel more comfortable on the field.

Is this a joke? Are we in under 7’s? Little Mitchell can’t play with kids he doesn’t know?

If we are being fair dinkum and picking team based combinations then surely John Sutton and Adam Reynolds are top of the list. I am not a huge fan of Sutton but using the ‘Laurie Daley method for Selections’, then isn’t this logical?

The whole thing reeks. There is no loyalty in origin selections. Only favouritism.

If I am Queensland player I would be extremely happy with the selection of Pearce. Billy Slater should be expecting to receive a lot of kicks on the full and if they watch just one Roosters game they can figure out how his whole game plan.

Now to Kurt Gidley. The man who is not good enough to play any position and that is why he plays them all. How does the saying go?

‘A jack of all trades and an expert in none’

Gidley is a grafter and I admire his attitude to the game. He is passionate, but he isn’t good enough and never has been. The only captain I have ever seen that has started from the bench. That says it all! Forwards can sacrifice skill with determination, unfortunately Gidley is not a forward. It doesn’t matter how much he wants it he is never going to have it.  But Andrew Johns and the other cronies have manufactured a place for Gidley in the NSW team. His inclusion in the last 3 origins has been a detriment to the side. His series last year was terrible and typified by missing vital conversion attempts

But once again Gidley was selected. In origin you are looking for impact off the bench.

Gidley has the impact of a sponge hammer.

I doubt Queensland would even care that Gidley was entering the game.

Why the hell would we select Gidley for this series? Why wouldn’t you look to blood some new players?

Put Adam Reynolds on the bench and give him some experience. He could cover positions 6,7,9 and he possesses a great general play and goal kicking game. This is how NSW should be recruiting for the future. Queensland did it with Cooper Cronk and ensured the succession  of another capable half back. In Gidley, all NSW has done is provide a band-aid player in case some one get hurts with no regard for next year.

If not Reynolds, what about Terry Campese? If we are talking loyalty, this guy is owed the world. For every game Pearce is selected Campese must shudder. He was given 1 game in 2009 that NSW lost 28-18. It  was actually 24-18 with 10 minutes to go before a Gidley handling error 2 minutes from halftime let Queensland in for a final try.

The irony.

But my point is, that against the best Queensland side to ever play origin, Terry Campese on debut, played in a side that were within 6 points of challenging for the game.  He didn’t have a stand out game and was relatively quiet but for a debut it was acceptable. But in a ridiculous turn of events he was dropped for the second game after it was stated that NSW were looking to blood players for the future. How does this happen? Especially when year after year Pearce and Gidley produce very little and keep getting selected. Terry  Campese can play 6,7,12 and 13.  He provides structure and direction in attack and his kicking game is brilliant

If I was a Queensland player and saw Campese or Reynolds warming up to take the field I would take notice. If I was a Queensland coach and saw Campese or Reynolds selected on the bench I would be concerned, not only for the present but for their impact in the future.

Loyalty: is a word NSW use to justify a poor selection

Form: is a word NSW use to justify a unjustified omission

Favouritism: is how NSW  implement disgraceful selections.

The fact Mitchell Pearce has played 9 origin games is a joke. The biggest joke is that he is been given another 3 chances  to play.

I watched the NSW halves  play against Cronk, Smith and Slater over the weekend. God help us.

Go the Blues

Rant on

6 Responses to “Selective Loyalty: The Curse of the New South Wales Blues”

  1. Stgeorgeill4eva May 28, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Could not have said it better myself!! Sometimes I wonder why I go out and spend my hard earned on SOO tickets when I already know the outcome 😦 obviously it pays to be the Commissioner’s son!!

    • Driesy94 May 31, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      I agree with a number of things you have said, but i disagree with a few. Speaking as both a Roosters and NSW fan i believe Mitchell Pearce does not deserve to play NRL. His game in general is well below par particularly at club form. He rarely plays a game at even an average standard however generally receives credit for a highly-ranked roosters team, e.g. the case this year, regardless of who is playing well. And i do believe that Reynolds should be the NSW 7. Fullstop. There is no reason for him not to be overlooked, the same goes for just about any Rabbitohs player and storm player competing for a spot. They are coming the first and second positions and as such should be the first players considered. But i think it is unfair to heap all the attention on both Gidley and Pearce. As you say Gidley tries hard and particularly in the past when the hooker spot was up for contention Gidley probably should have been slotted in there, he deserved a role as some sort of utility player. Now… he probably doesn’t, he is a walking set of injury symptoms and isn’t playing well, period (that is when he does play). But the rest of the squad needs to be viewed pretty meticulously as well. For example, this is basically Ryan Hoffman’s first game in seven years. The storm have been the dominant force of the NRL for how long? Compared to some of the standard-picked players like Greg Bird, Hoffman trumps him any day of the week, in my opinion. i’ve heard once or twice that it is actually the big four (Slater, Cronk, Smith and Hoffman). Secondly, Tamou got picked, i know i am going to be disagreed with by many people and i respect that but the cowboys are coming twelfth and They have three-six origin and possibly test players including the two props and the seven. Tamou not only shouldn’t be playing origin. He should be dropped from Australia. replace him for Grant, he had a great last two games. Then there are the morris twins, coming ten and thirteenth in their respective clubs, i haven’t heard much out of either this season. Put ferguson in the centres, and Wighton and Merrit on the wings, i am biased of course. i think Canberra’s Jack wighton is the best young player in the game and i don’t know if anyone else has even heard of him. These are just a few of my opinions, but i am happy with a few things even over the last few years. Hayne deserves a place in the side, as do Gallen, Lewis, Ferguson, Fifita etc. I just don’t think Daley should be coach, his selecting over the past few years has been poor, and for such an iconic game it is not good enough. I know i have probably ruffled a few feathers and i don’t apologise for that, its probably good that at least we can all agree that the core of this team is flawed and that Daley and co. need to pick their game up quick-smart.

      Go the Blues

      • jmcgirr May 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

        Everything you have said is absolutely spot on. I had to limit the length of my rant otherwise people would have stopped reading. But what you say about Hoffman is 100% true. He should have been selected years ago and the same goes for Merritt.
        Jack Wighton is an awesome player and does deserve a spot. His performances for raiders have been awesome. He still has a few errors to iron out of his game but it is to be expected from such a raw talent.
        Finally Laurie Daley is a great bloke but I think he lacks the ability to coach a and select a good side. Over the years he has made some poor selection choices and hasn’t suffered any repercussions. Even worse they have him the coaching job.
        Thanks for your feedback. Very insightful

  2. Henry June 3, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    Great article and comments . The only aspect unmentioned is the obviously more hidden motivations that might explain these astounding selections. Is it simply political? Or is it due to something more sinister? With so much corruption around, and the pernicious influence of gambling being so all-pervasive, nothing at all would surprise me. Sometimes there can be no other rational explanation.

  3. Estelle February 1, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    Are the baby bjorn carriers that good? I heard about a few times when parents were dropping their son or
    daughter when using the carrier, not sure whether that is the parents fault though.

  4. Nathan July 6, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    I could not agree more with everything you have said about Mitchell Pearce !
    Finally someone has come out and said it like it is ! I have being saying this for years about him and I’m a Queensland supporter.
    I call Pearce the second Braith Anasta – It doesn’t matter how he plays or what he does, he still gets picked and still gets the money.
    It really is a joke. I’ve come to the conclusion that Lawrie Daley must be scared of Wayne Pearce – scared not to pick his son.
    Why has Pearce had so many chances?! Why haven’t they given Jarrod Mullen, Peter Wallace or other halfbacks as many chances as Pearce, or given NATURALLY TALENTED halfbacks such as Adam Reynolds or Tyrone Roberts a chance?! The up and coming Luke Brooks has more talent in his little finger than Pearce does in his whole body !!
    At the Roosters, I’ve observed that James Molony seems to do all the breaking of the line and setting up like a half should, he seems quite talented to me.
    Another thing I don’t get is how Daley comes out and says he is his number 1 choice at halfback. Again, it seems like Daley is scared not to show his support for Pearce and scared not to pick him, it’s as if Pearce can do no wrong! His team mates come out in interviews and talk him up like as if he’s about to explode and become an “amazing halfback“ but nothing ever really happens, Pearce is as “good“ as he ever will be. If you actually watch what Pearce does in a game, I’ve observed that he always mostly just passes, then trots along after the ball, waiting for someone else to make a break and then backs up and sometimes scores a try. I can’t remember seeing him run like a natural halfback and step through the line.
    The fact is Pearce is not a natural halfback at all. He, at best is a manufactured halfback who has been given chances and talked up his whole playing career. Anyway, while ever they keep giving him the jumpers and the money, he will continue to lap it up. As a Queensland supporter I just laugh but also scratch my head every time they pick him.

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