With the Blues’ annual navel-gazing set to begin, following their annual defeat to the Maroons, former Blues halfback Brett Kimmorley has turned his attention to a largely overlooked aspect of the Blues’ camp – the opportunity to use the camp to prepare future players for their eventual selection.
Writing for ESPN, Kimmorley has targeted the Blues’ failure to invite players like Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary into camp during his side’s bye week as a wasted opportunity to expose their next generation to an Origin build-up.
“One thing New South Wales could have done better to help Cleary or other young fringe players prepare for their eventual Origin debuts is make better use of the Origin camps,” said Kimmorley. “Why not work out which clubs had the bye weekend before Origin and pick three or four potential future Blues and bring them into camp to experience what it is all about?”
“The Blues even had the same 18th man throughout the series, and I think it was a wasted opportunity not to give someone like Cleary a first-hand view of the build-up.”
“…a lot of the intimidation and wasted nervous energy can be avoided if you’ve seen what goes into a preparation.”
With the NSWRL reportedly investigating Blues players getting drunk on their day off, five days prior to Origin (the horror!), suggestions such as this one from Kimmorley are probably more productive in explaining why the Blues are forever chasing their tails.
As it stands, Cleary is arguably the best future option for the New South Wales halves, and if he’s called up next year, it sure would have been nice to have exposed him to the playing group and the preparation in advance.