Blues players call for Stuart to stay

Jim Morton, NZ Newswire Updated July 5, 2012, 9:12 am

NSW enforcer Greg Bird has implored Ricky Stuart to remain as Blues coach to stop Queensland's State of Origin dominance in 2013.

Stuart would not immediately commit to staying in his post next year in the aftermath of Wednesday night's 21-20 series-deciding loss to the Maroons at Suncorp Stadium.

The former NRL premiership-winning mentor hinted he had unfinished business in the job following successive 2-1 series defeats but is expected to be targeted by a number of NRL clubs.

"I absolutely love this," Stuart said after the loss. "I don't love this moment right now.

"But I haven't really thought about it right now."

Second-rower Bird, again among NSW's best in a rugged display, said the NSWRL needed to do all it could to keep Stuart at his post despite a seventh straight series loss.

"I think it's massively important," the Titans utility said. "He's got us this far and I think if a few things go our way next year we can hopefully turn the tide.

"They are beatable. We had them 20-all in the decider so they are beatable."

Stuart spoke to his players on the field and in the dressing sheds after the epic match.

"We were saying stick tight and stick close because we've been very tight for the last six matches," Bird said. "What Ricky has come in and done to this team has been massive.

"We're a very tight unit and a close bunch of mates.

"I'm very proud of the boys and it was never going to be easy after Melbourne (losing game one)."

A dejected Bird, who finished with a black eye and pectoral injury, was among three Blues players who are in doubt for the weekend's NRL action.

Stand-out hooker Robbie Farah will be assessed after copping a first-half head knock while winger Jarryd Hayne has been ruled out for Parramatta due to a foot problem.

Queensland appeared to come through the bruising encounter unscathed but winger Brent Tate received a grade one striking charge for a second minute incident involving Bird.

He will be free to play for the Cowboys even if he contests the charge and is found guilty.

"I did cop a whack but that's what happens in games," Bird said.

"I've got no bad feelings about it. It's what happens in football games and sometimes players get suspended for it and other times they don't."

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  1. 07:56am Thursday 05th July 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    You have got to be kidding me .. cut Stuart now! if he had just a shred of decency & dignity .. he would have announced his retirement as coach - Immediately after the game last night. I have no doubt he is a passionate blues man .. but that has not been enough in the past & it will not bring a series win in the future He needs to stand aside and allow a coach with proven record, to take the riegns - Lord strike me! .. he can not coach at this level - who the hell appointed him for this years series - a Queenslander? .. get out Ricky!

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