BLUES IN REVIEW | Andrew Fifita
A single brain-snap in Game III comes to mind for most NSW VB Blues fans, but it can not discount what was a strong series for prop Andrew Fifita.
The 2016 NRL season was an up-and-down one off the field for the Cronulla Sharks big man, but his Origin and club form should see him considered one of the game's best. Immediately making an impact for the Sharks, he was rewarded with a return to the sky blue jersey for the series opener, after being overlooked for the final two games of 2015.
Fifita's impact was clear for all to see in Origin I, running 106 metres in just 24 minutes on the field. It led for an expectation of more minutes in the do-or-die clash at Suncorp Stadium, but he failed to have the same effect, making just 48 metres. In the series finale he was strong once again, but received 10 minutes in the sin bin after running in to protect close friend Matt Moylan. Placing Queenslander Gavin Cooper in a head lock, it was a move that would hurt the team's chances, but with 93 metres and a vital try to his name he still performed well in Origin III.
In total, Fifita's series was a strong one - no player had more offloads (seven), despite him playing just 84 minutes in total. He was once again strong in both restart returns (54 metres) and metres after contact (93 metres) as well and while off-field circumstances denied him a chance to represent his country in the Four Nations, there is little doubt that he was among the Australia's best this year. A premiership-winning individual performance in the NRL Grand Final was also indicative of how damaging Fifita can be when in form.
2016 Matches: 3 (Games I, II and III)
Restart Returns: 54 metres
Metres After Contact: 93 metres