“Don’t pick your team until Sunday night.”
It’s a simple piece of advice from the greatest NSW coach in State of Origin history that Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler is following to the letter this season.
With only days remaining until the NSW team is announced on Sunday 26 May, Fittler said he was staying true to the wise words provided to him by former NSW Blues coach Phil Gould.
Gould and Fittler forged a bond together after winning multiple series for the Blues including
“The biggest thing I learned from Phil Gould was you don’t pick your team until Sunday night, simple as that,” Fittler told Five with Freddy for the nswrl.com.au
“As we’ve seen in rugby league this year there’s been a lot of injuries and if you look at the Magic Round there were injuries galore.
“If you look at the teams not many teams have actually got their full-strength teams or play the same team week in week out.
“If you’re prepared and you’re ready and you’re playing good footy and you’re doing everything possible for your club then you just never know.
“Opportunity comes at funny times.”
There has been plenty of speculation about the NSW Blues team ever since theseason started with form and/or injuries prompting debate around the positions of halves, right centre and bench utility.
Fittler has already said he has had a few sleepless nights thinking about the team for game one at Suncorp Stadium on June 5 but he added he had good support around him in Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues assistant coaches Danny Buderus and Craig Fitzgibbon and advisor Greg Alexander.
“I think the thing which is tough on the players is how much people want to talk about it, and given my job is in the media I’m obviously in there talking about it all the time, trying to be as unbiased as possible and making sure I don’t say things that affect players too much,” Fittler said.
“That’s been the hardest thing. This was always going to be tough and I remember Laurie saying those words that you’re going to find it incredibly hard not to be loyal to the team.
“We’ve got a really good support staff and we’re meeting to talk about the team and the good thing is I’ll get their view as well. I’ve got a view in my head how I see it going but they’ll give me their view and then hopefully we’ll come together with something leading into this week’s games.
“I’ve found it incredibly challenging but I’m loving this time of year. I just feel so excited that we’re going to have a great footy team again, I hope they all get through the weekend injury-free and I just can’t wait to get into camp.”