NSW State of Origin coach Laurie Daley is flanked by captain Boyd Cordner (right) and James Maloney.
NSW State of Origin coach Laurie Daley is flanked by captain Boyd Cordner (right) and James Maloney. PAUL MILLER

The man Matthew Johns says should coach the Blues

MATTHEW Johns has called for the NSWRL to give Craig Bellamy a second shot at the Origin arena, should Laurie Daley walk away from the Blues coaching post.

Bellamy has already had one disastrous stint at the helm of NSW but Johns is adamant the man many say is the best coach in the game learnt from his failure and would not repeat past mistakes.

However, there are two major stumbling blocks to appointing Bellamy.

1. It is widely understood Daley will get a one-year extension as Blues coach if he wants it.

2. The appointment of Bellamy would fly in the face of a philosophy the NSWRL are bullish about - that the Blues coach must take the role full-time.

Since Ricky Stuart took the reins for a two-year stint that started in 2011, the NSWRL has moved the job away from NRL coaches, preferring to follow Queensland's model as Mal Meninga built a dynasty.

Stuart was unsuccessful in his two attempts to win the shield back for NSW in 2011 and 2012 and Daley has won just one series from five attempts, in 2014 when the Blues squeaked home in game one and two slugfests.

His three losses since have led to more and more critics revisiting the full-time coaching philosophy with many concluding that it's folly to ignore the 16 men with arguably the highest coaching IQs in the country.

Bellamy would top that list and Johns says it should be a no-brainer to go back to him, regardless of his horror stint from 2008 to 2010 that netted just two wins from nine matches.


Coach of the Storm Craig Bellamy speaks at a media conference after the Round 5 NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Penrith Panthers at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Saturday, April 1, 2017. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy speaks at a media conference. JULIAN SMITH

"If Laurie decides, 'do you know what, it's taken too much of a toll on me personally', then for mine, it's got to be Bellamy," Johns said on Triple M's The Grill Team on Tuesday morning.

"Bellamy's had one crack before and it's my understanding that Bellamy understands the mistakes he made the first time and he would coach it different the second time around.

"That's good enough for me."

Johns pointed to a recent anecdote from NSW's most successful coach Phil Gould as evidence to support a return to NRL coaches to the Origin arena.

Paraphrasing one of Gould's Set of Six podcasts for Nine's Wide World of Sports website, Johns explained why the need for a full-time coach at Origin level was overrated.

"It was interesting what Phil Gould said recently, he came out on his podcast and he said ... 'When I was coaching week to week I was battle hardened. I understood everything I wanted to do and I was ready for everything coaching could throw at me,'" Johns recalled.


Matthew Johns at the Fox League launch at Birchgrove Oval, Sydney. Picture: Brett Costello
Former NRL star and current Fox League presenter Matthew Johns. Brett Costello

"He said 'I found it more difficult to come out of the blue and coach a team'."

The call for Bellamy to be given another crack came the morning after Daley spoke publicly for the first time in several weeks in a fascinating appearance on Fox Sports' NRL 360.

Answering questions about the Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson drinking session, a tactical backflip that gave Andrew Fifita a start after it had been promised to David Klemmer and other questions about the Blues' game three capitulation had shown the strain Daley was feeling, according to Johns.

"It's my understanding firstly that Laurie will get a year if he wants to take it and you can see the toll on Loz last night on the show, I feel really sorry for Laurie," Johns said.

"He's been really let down by a couple of players and he's chosen not to throw them under the bus, he was very understated last night."