State of Origin opener less than a week away as both sides prepare for battle.
NSW coach Laurie Daley said telling Josh Sutton he would not be required for the first game of this year’s State of Origin series was the hardest thing he’s had to do in the game.
Sutton and Canterbury’s Josh Reynolds were both called into the Blues’ squad after a calf injury ruled out Kurt Gidley for the June 5 clash.
After days of deliberation, Daley said he went with Reynolds simply as he offered a solid back-up to hooker Robbie Farah in case of injury.
“There is no nice way to deliver bad news so when I made my decision on Thursday the first person I wanted to let know was John himself,” Daley said.
“He was getting physio at the time so I went in and asked the people who were working with him if we could have a few minutes in private.
“John was obviously upset but the way he handled it was all class. Then I went and told Josh. You talk about extremes of emotion.
“Josh has been rooming with Ryan Hoffman this week so I called him outside into the hallway and I told him the good news right there.
“I can tell you just being there for that moment was a wonderful feeling. You could see by the emotion in his eyes what it meant to him.”
The decision to leave Sutton out of the side came as a surprise to some given the South Sydney star’s form to date this season, which is the best in his career.
Daley said the Blues’ camp had gone to plan to date, but said while he as angered by Queensland business magnate Clive Palmer publicly calling him a “grub”, he was not letting it get to him.
“Clive is obviously a passionate Queenslander and he was being interviewed about offering up his private jet for Johnathan Thurston if JT has to rush home for the birth of his baby before Origin,” he said.
“Clive decided to throw an insult my way for the hell of it and he called me a grub.
“I guess I was surprised when I first heard his comments but I wouldn’t say I was angry. Disappointed is probably a better choice of word.
“The truth is I have never met Clive Palmer and he apparently issued a statement yesterday saying he apologised for his comments. So I’ll leave it at that.”
New South Wales is looking to end Queensland’s unprecedented run of series wins, which has now stretched to seven.