True Blue and Rugby League icon Brad Fittler has thrown his support behind the young brigade of would-be NSW VB Blues forwards, ahead of Monday’s team announcement for Origin Game I.
Speaking of the loss of experienced campaigner and outgoing VB Blues Captain Paul Gallen, Fittler says it’s time to usher in budding young talent, backing the youth and exuberance of the NSW stocks to get the job done over the Maroons pack.
“It poses a new challenge, absolutely. He’s been so strong for a long time, Gal, it’s a very important position front row. We need to make sure we find the right one,” Fittler tells NSWRL.com.au.
“[Pending fitness] ‘Woodsy’ (VB Blues incumbent Aaron Woods) would get a start, but there’s a few out there now putting their hands up.
“(Paul) Vaughan, Junior Paulo, Regan Campbell-Gillard from the Panthers, they’re all playing good footy.
“But if Woods is out, I’d be picking someone like a James Tamou for that experience factor. Then picking players around to complement his game. Fifita and Klemmer would be there somewhere too.”
Experience will be a factor widely considered by coach Laurie Daley when naming his squad, given the obstacle of two fixtures set down at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium this series.
Regarded as one of the most hostile-environments in world sport, Fittler urges the Blues’ pack to use the Queensland-favoured atmosphere to their own advantage, to get the best out of their own efforts.
“It’s a big challenge because our record up there isn’t that great, but if you can’t go up there and be inspired by the atmosphere, you’re in the wrong game,” Fittler says.
“It’s about time we won two up there.”