The New South Wales Blues currently find themselves in a period of transition at the Sydney Olympic Park as speculation on who will take over team captaincy mounts.
While there is promising news of a new training center of excellence opening at team headquarters, this development is tarnished with the uncertainty as to who will lead the Blues forward into the 2017 Origin series.
As it stands, Queensland are still better favored in the early odds but as of mid-August 2016 Bet365 have the Blues at 7/5 to win the Origin.
Heavy-weight skipper Paul Gellen completed his Origin career with some highlights in a spotted campaign that ultimately, and perhaps predictably, saw Queensland again taking home the prize. The 10th Queensland victory in 11 efforts will be pushing the Blues towards a major rethink in how the county moves forward into the next series.
Part of that push will ultimately fall at the feet of the new captain.
Gallen had been criticised for walking away from the presentation ceremony as Queensland captain, Cameron Smith, received the winning shield. But outgoing skipper Gallen will form part of the process in finding a replacement leader, offering his services as counsel to the selection committee.
Caretaker Blues captain Hooker and Half-back Robbie Farah’s future finds itself in question after Coach Jason Taylor demoted the player to the Super Premiership. However, Farah, as the most senior playing vying for the open spot, might well be the most natural county choice. His troublesome time at the Tigers shouldn’t be an issue clouding his qualification for the Blues job.
Head Coach Laurie Daley indicates a decision will be made at least a month before the start of next year’s series but is in no rush before putting forward his recommendation to the board.
Robbie Farah’s teammate and Tigers’ captain Aaron Woods’s name has also been thrown into the hat although Woods is on record as saying that while he’d like to one day captain his state, it is not something that he is particularly concerned about at present. Prop forward Woodsy is joined in the running by player’s choice in game one – Boyd Cordner.
Bullish second-rower Josh Jackson has barged himself forward into the reckoning. A player’s and fans favorite – a real leader of the Blues squad.
However a returning Jarryd Hayne, if selected, might be in with a shout, being the Blue in the next year’s series with the most caps in his locker and the resultant experience to boot. The former San Francisco and 49er’s chances may have been better had he not spent almost two years pursuing a career in the NFL, Coach Daley commented.
There are further mutterings that Shark Wade Graham has leadership credentials and his clubmate James Maloney is also well seasoned and possibly worth a shout in the runnings.
There is of course the risk of putting a player forward for the captaincy only to see him drop out of the running due to injury before the 2017 campaign.