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AROUND THE BLOCK | A New Chapter in Rugby League’s Biggest Rivalry

So here we are again.

Twelve rounds of the 2018 season done and dusted, and few people could disagree that we've seen the best of the best put their hands up for State of Origin selection.

It's all been boiling up to this point.

It has been since last November – from the moment when Brad Fittler was handed the NSW coach's clipboard.

It took next to no time for the State of Origin speculation to begin.

Who would 'Freddy' select? How would his team play? Why would 2018 be any different?

When handed the coach's job, Brad made one thing clear: No one was guaranteed a place in his side.

But nor should they have been. See, Brad's always done things his way.

I remember back to his NSW debut, it was Game Two of the 1990 State of Origin series.

Stepping out at Melbourne's Olympic Park that night as a fresh-faced kid from Penrith, he boasted raw talent and a bag full of tricks that you couldn't help but admire.

At just 18 years of age, and playing on the game's biggest stage, he wasn't intimidated in the slightest. He held his own under a mountain of pressure.

And while his face may now not be as fresh, Brad's still as quick between the ears as he was in Melbourne that night – and then some. Few know the game like Freddy.

I can't wait to see the NSW team run out on to the Melbourne Cricket Ground next Wednesday (6 June) night.

There's some exciting names amongst this lot that he's selected.

Players picked to score points.

Players who've done their all for their club, the same players now ready to do it for their state.

The first place to see the NSW team for Game One of the 2018 State of Origin series is right here, on

The countdown is on.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.