Under coach Brad Fittler, New South Wales is looking to set a record on Sunday night.
No NSW team has ever won the first two matches of Origin in Queensland, but this year’s Blues squad is out to make history. After a dominant display in game one, there have been questions over whether this NSW team can rival the dynasty Queensland side that was so dominant over the last decade.
Brad Fittler has made two changes to the 20-man squad to take on Queensland, Roosters forward Angus Crichton and Storm lock Dale Finucane the new players in the side while Jake Trbojevic has withdrawn from the side for Origin 2.
With the NSW squad travelling to Kingscliff in the Northern Rivers region to escape any COVID issues, Fittler spoke to the media ahead of departure.
“To go up to the North Coast now ensures there will not be any challenges further into the preparation. It’s a beautiful place up there,” he said.
“There were challenges (moving to Kingscliff) but not from a playing point of view; there are absolutely no excuses.”
When asked about the team changing due to Trbojevic being out, Fittler was adamant it won’t look overly different.
“The team won’t change much, just working right now on (who will play) between Angus and Dale Finucane, but I feel like Angus will start on the bench with Dale on the extended bench,” he said.
Queensland will go into Origin 2 with five changes to the squad, including the 18-year-old Reece Walsh.
With only seven games of first-grade football, Walsh is one of the most inexperienced Origin players of all time. He’s an extremely exciting young prospect, and Fittler isn’t too worried by the 18-year-old’s inclusion.
“He’s a real talent, and we’re obviously going to have to be very careful. He brings a lot of footy to that team.
“It seems he doesn’t get discouraged by errors and just gets on with it and that’s quite a trait. I look forward to being part of his debut.”
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Fittler, when asked about possible complacency issues around the side after a massive win in Origin 1, wholly rejected the notion.
“We’re just getting prepared. We’ve got a job up there. It’s going to be a great challenge, an awesome experience. They (Queensland) are going to have to improve a lot to beat us.”
Recently the Queensland side has been circling a photo of Jarome Luai, suggesting he was arrogant for laughing during Origin 1. Fittler complimented Luai on his ability as well as his energy on the field.
“I thought it was a great photo,” Fittler said.
“I love what he does, being excited on the footy field and bringing energy, he brings that every day.”
The Blues will face their toughest test on Sunday night, trying to win in Brisbane and seal the series.
With crucial player Trbojevic out, the game will be challenging, but facing a demoralised Queensland side after the considerable loss in Origin 1 sees the Blues will go in as favourites.
The New South Wales Blues take on the Queensland Marrons on Sunday night, with kick-off at 7:55 pm live from Suncorp Stadium.
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