Behave or pay the price: stars warned to bond responsibly

“Laurie [Daley] has put the onus back on us and that’s the way it should be”: Josh Reynolds. Photo: Mark MetcalfeNSW players will be let out for their traditional pre-game bonding session on Tuesday night but have been warned to behave or risk their position in the team.

After James Tamou was caught drink-driving and Blake Ferguson was suspended for an alleged indecent assault after a night out on the drink, the Blues decided against allowing the players a night out on the town leading into game two.

But NSW coach Laurie Daley has given his players the freedom to do as they choose as part of the bonding session before the series decider at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday week.

The Origin bonding session has long been considered a rite of passage into the representative arena, but the Blues’ players were forced to follow up a promotional event and dinner at a restaurant with a few drinks inside a room at their Coogee hotel before game two.

But Fairfax Media understands Daley is reluctant to place restraints on his players, and has put the pressure on his troops to show some responsibility.

”I think that’s a perfect way to do it. Laurie has put the onus back on us, and that’s the way it should be,” Josh Reynolds said. ”If someone says, ‘Don’t go out,’ sometimes you’re going to have blokes who still do go out. That’s when altercations happen. There might be a person who wants a photo when you’re out, but you say no because you’re not meant to be out. That person thinks you’re being a snob and that lights the fire.

”If you are allowed out, you’re happy to take photos and mingle with everyone. If you stuff up, you deal with the consequences. That’s how it should be, at Origin or at any club. We’re grown men, and if we make decisions and it’s the wrong one, you have to do deal with the consequences.”

Experienced back-rower Luke Lewis understands why the Blues’ bonding session had its limitations for game two. However, the 29-year-old credited Daley for showing faith in his players and allowing them to take part in the long-standing Origin ritual.

”The good thing about ‘Loz’ and all our coaching staff, they treat you like adults, but they expect to be treated like adults as well,” Lewis said. ”You just want to let your hair down but you have to be pretty careful about who’s around and what you do.

”When you come into Origin, everyone goes on about the team bonding session. It’s nothing too crazy. It’s just a nice night out at dinner and a couple of beers. It’s a night to let your hair down. It’s just good to enjoy the company of blokes you don’t get to see all the time when you’re at club footy.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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