New South Wales Coach, Laurie Daley, said that he was pleased with the performance of his halves pairing of Adam Reynolds and James Maloney in State of Origin Game I, despite going down on the 6-4 score-board.
Considered one of the Blues’ best on the night by NRL.com’s NSW Player Ratings, Reynolds looked comfortable in his new role building pressure with his kicking game while defending strongly – also not afraid to take on the Maroon forwards despite his small stature.
Daley also indicated that the same halves pairing would be retained for the second game in Brisbane.
“(The halves) combined really well – we had a new seven, six and one, and most coaches will tell you that when you’re putting a spine together it takes a bit of time,” said Daley.
“But they combined really well and I’m happy with the way they went. Again, they’ll be better in Game II for it.”
“I thought they played well. It’s always difficult in your first Origin game coming up against a great team. They’ll get better.”
One try to Boyd Cordner wouldn’t be enough for the Blues in the low-scoring affair, with a Johnathan Thurston penalty-goal proving the difference in the 6-4 result that saw a pronounced fatigue factor set in late in the game.
But Daley couldn’t fault his team for effort.
“We would have loved to have won, but It wasn’t to be,” lamented Daley.
“The effort was great – we’ve just got to get better in areas of our game. I think our attack can certainly improve.
“But the effort was sensational. It was a dour game, the ruck wasn’t that quick but there was some really encouraging signs for us because we’re a young team – got a lot of new blood.
“We’ve got to get it right in Queensland.”