The New South Wales Blues demolished the Queensland Maroons in Wednesday night’s State of Origin opener, but Blues coach Brad Fittler and captain James Tedesco know the series hasn’t been won yet.
Fittler was extremely pleased with his teams efforts in the 44-point win.
“It was pretty good, pretty special,” he said at the press conference after the game.
“I think the way they played makes you proud as a coach.”
Fittler also lauded his back five who posted 928 run metres between them
“They were awesome,” he said.
“Obviously we broke down their middle because their middle had to contain Teddy [James Tedesco], all our forwards plus Tommy [Trbojevic] and Latrell [Mitchell], they were all coming through.”
Despite the convincing victory Fittler is aware that is it is only one game and that the Blues have had strong victories in previous years, which ultimately haven’t led to series victories.
“We’ve won a game every year quite convincingly and if you go through those other games, we won one with 12 players at the back end of the game and the other one Teddy scored on the bell,” he said.
“I am quite aware by winning a game by 50 here in the first game doesn’t mean anything.”
Game two will also be at Suncorp Stadium a not so happy hunting ground for the Blues over previous series.
“The next challenge is Suncorp we haven’t won there [for three years] so there is a really big goal in front of us,” Fittler said.
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Tedesco knows the feeling of a disappointing game one result all too well after last year and he will not be expecting the Maroons to just roll over.
“I think it is going to be a different team in game two because last year we lost game one and came out firing in game two,” he said.
“I’m sure it will be similar and it’s going to be at Suncorp as well which is always tough task.”
“It’s going to be a challenge; tonight, was a convincing win but we still have to win two more.”
Fittler was full of praise for his centres Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell, arguably the two best players on the field.
Trbojevic had been in ripping form for the Manly Sea Eagles since returning from a hamstring injury and proved last night he may well be one of the best players in the competition.
While it seemed he was playing more a fullback role, Fittler said there were things he had to do for the team in his designated potion, but as the game opened up, Trbojevic’s playmaking ability came to the fore.
“Once we started to get on top you could see that we were finishing our sets well and putting them under pressure with where they were getting the ball back and that allows those sort of players to do that, to roam a little bit so he just took advantage,” he said.
Mitchell’s return to the State of Origin arena was a successful one after missing out on selection last year.
Fittler was excited to see him return for the Blues and show that he belongs at the level.
“Latrell’s run early in the game when he went up the sideline that was a big moment in the game and then his tackle when he come in as well couple of huge plays,” he said.
“Everyone agrees that it’s good to see him out there, he is a good player and does some great things on the field, it was awesome to have him out there.”
The players will now return to their clubs before gathering again to prepare for game two on Sunday 27th of June.
Fittler is hopeful that his side will be able to keep their run of form going for the remainder of the series.
“When we come back in we should be in a pretty good headspace considering what happened tonight and we have to get better,” he said.