Seven Blues misfits finally find their place
IT IS the remarkable story of seven NSW Blues misfits who overcame enormous career setbacks to celebrate a sensational victory on the game's biggest stage.
All stirring comeback journeys from precarious positions that threatened their futures.
Damien Cook, a St George-Illawarra and Bulldogs outcast, before finding a home at the Rabbitohs. What were they thinking? He threw the ball for the first try and scored from 40 metres to break the game open in the second half.
Blake Ferguson was unwanted at Roosters and dumped from the Blues after the infamous all-day Lennox Head booze session with Josh Dugan.
He found at new home in Parramatta and then Freddy Fittler invited him back. And he sets up that extraordinary last minute try.
Jack Wighton faced serious assault charges this time last year. What a game. What a tackle on Dane Gagai in the 22nd minute. He is the game's ultimate competitor.
Josh Addo-Carr played for the Sharks in Holden Cup. Then the Wests Tigers. Jason Taylor didn't want a bar of him but Storm saw what others didn't.
He made the Blues side and will no doubt get a Kangaroos jersey later in the year.
Poor Mitchell Pearce got shafted at the Roosters for Cooper Cronk. He got blamed for every Origin series loss he featured in. And then he came back and finally got what he so richly deserves. An Origin shield.
And Paul Vaughan, the front-rower Ricky Stuart couldn't find a spot for him in the Canberra Raiders pack. He scored a bulldozing try, the first for the Blues just short of halftime.
A Canterbury Bulldogs reject. Des Hasler even rang Storm footy general manager Frank Ponissi and offered his services while he still had a year on his contract at Belmore.
Another magnificent performer for the Blues.
And even Boyd Boyd Cordner. It was 12 months ago the Blues' most successful Origin coach, Phil Gould, said he shouldn't even be in the NSW side.
Here are his quotes: "I've always questioned his impact at that level as well. His football has stagnated over the last two or three years. He runs the one line, at the one time, every time. There's nothing varied about his play, he never passes the ball."
He replied by captaining the Blues to win the series, the Roosters to win the premiership and the Kangaroos to beat Tonga.
And his response to Gus was: "If you want everyone to like you, go and sell ice creams."
He has now become one of the great NSW leaders. An absolute ornament to the game.
You could probably even throw the coach into the misfits group.
Freddy could have been finished after two years in charge at the Roosters.
He wanted this NSW job so badly but got rejected for Laurie Daley.
He's now won two from two with players he believed in but others didn't.