Blues’ Origin ‘clogging’ arouses ‘flat’ fear; Fittler’s Secret Referee Meeting Revealed: Origin Daily

There are some major differences between NSW and Queensland’s preparation for Game II of the Origin series.

Traditionally, with Origin games played on Wednesday nights, teams have 10 days to get ready for the fierce rivalry – but for a Sunday game, coaches only get seven.

The NSW squad made the five-hour flight to Perth on Monday after the weekend’s rugby league action and the new-look squad hopes to learn quickly to take the series to a decider.

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Meanwhile, on Thursday four days after the Blues, the Maroons will travel by private jet after staying at a Gold Coast camp.

Channel 9’s Danny Weidler revealed that the Blues training program seemed “a lot” after a full round of NRL action.

“Really interesting, they have practice today, one Wednesday, another Thursday off and another big session on Friday,” Weidler said on Big Sports Breakfast.

“To me that feels like a lot leading up to a match, Laurie would probably be a lot better placed than me.

“But it’s a short lead time that feels like they cram a lot into a short amount of time and I hope they don’t run out.”

Former Blues coach Laurie Daley believed Brad Fittler would use the time for low-intensity recovery training.

But Weidler revealed that the length of each session could prove otherwise.


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“What they would look at is low intensity and not staying out too long, so instead of an hour and a half session they could be at a 40 percent session, which could be at 50 percent instead of 80 cents. ‘ said Dale.

“It’s interesting Loz, some of the sessions that were initially broadcast through the media advisory lasted two and a half hours,” Weidler said.

“We’ve been told you can be there at 10am and get the warm up and it ends at 12.30pm. I think that might be a little different today, but initially those were the times we got.”

“That could include weights,” Daley said.

“No, so that’s when we get to the scene, that was in the first media release,” Weidler said.

“I don’t think it includes their weights … they usually have a break and then do weights too, I’ll be interested to see how much they actually do, I find it fascinating that it’s a new team and it’s a short lead time.”

Meanwhile, Slater’s side of the Gold Coast is alive before ‘Air Billy’ will fly the Maroons to Perth on Thursday afternoon.

Queensland’s first two days in the Origin camp will be focused on recovery before the squad takes a private flight.

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Originally, the Maroons were supposed to travel to Perth after training on Friday, but medical staff insisted that the schedule be changed, using Thursday’s rest day as the travel day.

“It changes the 10-day prep a bit,” Slater told The courier post.

“The first thing we need to focus on is getting everyone fit and healthy. We had three guys playing (on Sunday) so recovery is what we will focus on today and make sure we put game one (16-10 win) to bed.

“We need to take out the good things we’ve done and make sure that’s part of our base and also look at some of the things where we can get better.

“We won’t get on track until Tuesday and a session on Wednesday and then we go to Perth.

“Recovery is definitely something we’ll consider early in this preparation.”


Blues coach Brad Fittler reportedly held a secret meeting with umpire boss Jared Maxwell ahead of the State of Origin series opener.

According to the Sydney Morning HeraldFittler came armed with video highlighting illegal games by Maroons players during last year’s Origin series and while playing for their NRL clubs.

He located forward passes from the dummy half of Maroon hooker Harry Grant, offsides from Cameron Munster and put pressure on halfback Nathan Cleary.

Fittler’s fear was that the umpires could have a major impact on the result and took the unusual step of making the approach ahead of the series.

He didn’t stop there. Fittler then sought out Maxwell after Game One, furious at referee Ashley Klein’s actions.

Among his list of grievances were a cut ball by Kalyn Ponga leading to Dane Gagai’s try and Blues prop Junior Paulo was held in the scrum while Daly Cherry-Evans scored from close range.

The Blues were less than impressed with Ashley Klein in Game One.Source: Getty Images

He also wanted to touch on the speed of the ruck, which has since become a major topic of conversation leading up to Game Two in Perth.

“(Queensland) got it tight and they held on,” Fittler said earlier this month.

“They didn’t want to give away penalties, I think with 17 minutes to go we got a penalty. “They did a great job, they worked hard there and they definitely won the ruck.”

It was a sentiment echoed Monday night by Blues assistant Greg Alexander.

“We need to pay more attention to the ruck and realize it’s not a club game,” he told NRL360.

“It’s Origin and penalties like to be minimal. You have to push the boundaries. You don’t want to play too nice. I thought we were just too nice about things.

“It seemed like we didn’t want to offend anyone. We jumped out nice and clean and we lost the ruck and we learned a lesson from that. I’m sure we’ll be better in that area.”


Blues coach Brad Fittler revealed he was happy with his series opener rosters, but still made a no less than seven changes by his side after a 16-10 loss in game one.

Now ‘Freddy’ has admitted that NSW selectors had to re-evaluate, hoping to match the series before heading to the stomping grounds of Queensland in Game III.

Matt Burton, Apisai Koroisau, Angus Crichton, Siosifa Talakai and Jake Trbojevic will make it to the 17, while Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Ryan Matterson and Tariq Sims were dropped and Jack Wighton was ruled out due to Covid-19.

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“I had faith in the first team, but I have to pick a team that we can go there with and that we can win with and this is it,” said Fittler.

“If you get beat, you have to reassess.

“We don’t have a safety net at the moment, went into the first game and thought in a way about how the game was going to go and what we could do, but it didn’t happen.

“So going to Perth with a team I think we can win with.”

Fittler also explained that he believed Jack Wighton was the best of the Blues in the series opener, revealing that Panthers pistol Stephen Crichton would take his place at the base.

“I thought he was our best player, I thought he was very strong, I’m really disappointed for him,” said Fittler.

“I was talking to him and there was almost movement around him while he was able to play, but he was quite a crook, so the first two or three days he was very sick, so he was immediately ruled out.”

The inclusion of Siosifa Talakai is a huge reward for his excellent form in the centers of the Sharks, but his selling point is his versatility according to the Blues coach.

The 25-year-old can be deployed in the middle and has played on the fringes and in the centers for Craig Fitzgibbon this year.

“Talakai, he gives us versatility. I think he started the season in the middle, played on and on the rim and then also played central all year and did a great job,” said Fittler.

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“He was especially unlucky not to make the first game and he’s someone we’ve seen. It was very exciting to watch his season, so I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”

Meanwhile, pundits criticized Jake Trbojevic’s omission from the Origin arena after Fittler announced his team for the series opener.

After some impassioned performances for the Sea Eagles in recent weeks, Trbojevic’s surnames are returning to the state vs state showcase, while

“Jake Trbojevic, just like the game went in Game I, we really needed someone who was really defensive,” said Fittler.

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