It’s safe to say it was an at times stressful weekend for Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler – but he is hopeful he has only lost one, rather than two, of his starting Origin props.
When Reagan Campbell-Gillard’s jaw fractured in a collision with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves on Friday night, it prompted Fittler to rethink his team for Game Two of the Holden State of Origin series, naming a 20-man squad named on Saturday night. A pair of incidents to Campbell Gillard’s front-row partner David Klemmer, however, could also be cause for concern.
As the Bulldogs big man made every effort to keep his side in the game against the Titans on Saturday afternoon, he let two questionable tackles slip as his side went down 32-10 at Belmore Sports Ground. Fittler believes the first, coming in the 22nd minute, is nothing to worry about, while the second – a 79th-minute late hit on AJ Brimson – is more likely to attract the attention of the NRL Match Review Committee.
“There was a head high and the head high’s fine,” Fittler told NSWRL.com.au, referring to the first-half incident. “I think the other one, we have this fine system now for minor charges.
“He sort of went in, his arms were open, I’m not sure if he made contact with his head. I didn’t look at it that close and they didn’t show it that many times either.
“I feel good.”
Only the first incident resulted in a Titans penalty, while neither tackle was placed on report – although the Match Review Committee could yet award a charge to Klemmer by 3pm on Sunday afternoon. If the worst-case scenario of a suspension is to arise, Fittler has brought in uncapped front-rowers Matt Prior and Ryan James to potentially replace both his starting props – although the NSW coach’s decision was not influenced by concerns about Klemmer.
“No I just wanted to get them both out,” Fittler said. “I haven’t met either of them, I’ve been fans of both of them for a long time.
“It was just something I wanted to do, getting people who are taking the joint forward.”