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Stuart slams Origin move to Melbourne

Published: 7:31AM Tuesday April 24, 2012 Source: AAP

  • Ricky Stuart (Source: Photosport)
    Ricky Stuart - Source: Photosport

NSW coach Ricky Stuart has slammed as ridiculous the decision by Blues officials to forfeit home-ground advantage by taking the State of Origin series opener to Melbourne.

While the call to take a game to the Victorian capital was made some time ago, Stuart labelled the decision a lack of respect for a Blues playing group trying desperately to end Queensland's unprecedented Origin dominance.

"It's ridiculous that we've got to go to Melbourne to play. There's no favour in going to Melbourne for us - that'll be basically a crowd that supports (Queensland)," Stuart told Sydney radio station Triple M today.

"It's our chance to have two games at home.

"I can tell you, if the shoe was on the other foot and Queensland were down six series, they'd change the decision, and that's the attitude we've got to get too."

Origin has been played six times in Melbourne, with both teams enjoying three wins apiece.

But with the proliferation of Melbourne players in the Queensland squad, the Maroons enjoy much more support south of the border, and have won the two games played at Etihad Stadium - the scene of this year's opening game on May 23.

"I'm not against Melbourne but, for me, I'm a coach that gets employed on results - not on promotion," Stuart said.

"We've got to have the same attitude to Origin here in NSW that Queensland have.

"I would have loved to have had two games at home this year.

"I don't think we respect the players in regards to taking that game away.

"We've got to win a series."

Stuart also sounded off against the selection of Danny Buderus in the Country Origin side, claiming the veteran hooker wasn't given the respect his long service to the NSW cause had earned.

Buderus was selected before subsequently withdrawing from Sunday's annual clash against City due to an achilles injury, prompting critics to suggest the former Blues skipper lacked the commitment to play representative football.

Stuart said Buderus should never have been put in the position where he had to pull out of the Mudgee clash, having called the NSW coach two weeks earlier to explain his circumstances.

"He thought it was more healthier for him, for his Newcastle Knights and, if the option did arise and he played Origin football, it was going to be better that he did freshen up a little bit," Stuart said.

"He was honest about it and I believe we didn't treat him with the respect that he deserved.

"What he has done for City-Country, what he has done for his representative jumpers over the years, he deserved that bit of respect that we didn't give him."

The Newcastle rake is considered the favourite to regain the No.9 jumper he forfeited when he quit the NRL to join Super League side Leeds in 2009.

But Stuart also said he liked what he saw from Robbie Farah in the City-Country clash, particularly his combination with likely Blues halfback Mitchell Pearce.

Farah hasn't played for NSW since appearing in the first two games of the post-Buderus era in 2009.

"I'm not looking for combinations if they're definitely not there. I wouldn't look to create a combination but, if there was a combination to bounce off one another in regards to what Robbie and Mitchell Pearce did, that's a plus - that's a real positive," Stuart said.

"Robbie Farah, I believe, is a very, very good footballer and he showed us that (on Sunday).

"It was probably one of his strongest games for the season."