State of Origin 2021: Paul Green, Daly Cherry-Evans admit Maroons got preparation wrong after embarrassing loss
Rookie State of Origin coach Paul Green has all-but admitted he got his side’s preparation wrong after the Queensland Maroons suffered a 50-6 loss at the hands of the NSW Blues on Wednesday night.
It took 17 minutes for the Blues to jump ahead on the scoreboard but their dominance was evident from the opening whistle in front of a packed house in Townsville.
Green, who delivered the Cowboys’ maiden NRL premiership in 2015, was appointed as Wayne Bennett’s successor after the South Sydney boss orchestrated an unlikely 2-1 series victory in 2020.
But it was an unhappy return to Townsville for the former Maroons half-back as the rampant Blues, led by hat-trick-hero Tom Trbojevic, ran riot.
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Speaking post-match, Green refused to be drawn on whether he’ll make any changes to his squad for Game 2 at Suncorp Stadium but admitted he would review his side’s preparation ‘to see if there’s anything glaring we got wrong’.
Pressed on what might have gone wrong in the lead-up, Green refused to blame the uncertainty over the availability of several Maroons players but was surprisingly open about his possible shortcomings.
“Just look, it’s a new group in some respects, a new coach in me so what I probably might have let go through the week in terms of execution I may not have had I had a bit more of a bond with the team – bond’s probably not the right word – but had I had a bit more experience with them,” he said.
“But it is what it is and it’s about learning from it and making sure we don’t let it happen again.”
Queensland skipper Daly Cherry-Evans echoed his coach’s comments when asked what went wrong in the series opener.
“Like Greeny said, we’ve got to look at our preparation, obviously to rock up and play like we did tonight we got a few things wrong, not just the execution tonight but probably in the way that we prepared,” Cherry-Evans said.
“We’ve got a bit of time to think about it but I think we’ve got the right people to fix it.”
Meanwhile, Cherry-Evans conceded Manly Sea Eagles team-mate Trbojevic caught the Maroons off guard after he featured heavily on both sides of the field throughout the lop-sided contest despite being named at right centre.
“There’s a way to limit it,” Cherry-Evans said of his club team-mate’s influence.
“He’s obviously going to be involved, he’s one of those players who’s just continually going to put himself in the picture, so I don’t think we realised how much he was going to be in the picture tonight.
“But now we understand where it’s all at and I know we’ll be far better prepared.
“But again, do you stop it? Not really, but you can limit it and we didn’t really limit it tonight.
“It was just a free for all.”