True Blue and former Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues captain Boyd Cordner watched Game III as a fan and finds it hard to put into words what it meant to see James Tedesco lift the 2021 Ampol State of Origin Shield on Wednesday night.
Cordner, who played 16 games for NSW from 2013-2020, could not join the Blues squad at Kingscliff or be at CBus Stadium due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
But having a ringside seat in front of the television at the Roosters Sunshine Coast hotel was nearly as good.
“I’m one of their most passionate fans now and I’d definitely pay money to go and watch ‘Teddy’ play,” Cordner told nswrl.com.
Behind Blue Eyes | Post Game Three
“I know he’s been a teammate of mine but seeing how he plays and goes about his work, he is such a great player. And now he’s a great captain for that NSW team now.
“I’m definitely very proud of him – it was so good to see him raise that shield. I can’t really explain it.
“Just to see how hard he’s worked at the Roosters and the Blues. He’s been the best player in the game for three years now, so he deserves this out of anyone.”
Cordner also wants to pat Brydens Lawyers coach Brad Fittler on the back for moulding the squad over the past four years.
“Freddy needs a heap of thanks, not just being coach from 2018 but for the work he’s been doing with the juniors and emerging players behind the scenes for a long time now,” Cordner said. “He’s starting to see the benefits of all that.”
The 29-year-old, who was forced into retirement this season after successive head knocks, says NSW fans will now see their team go on to continued Origin success.
“If this core group of players stays in that team, anything is possible,” he said.
“If I’m not playing then I’m NSW’s biggest supporter – that won’t ever change – and watching them this year I couldn’t have been more proud how the Blues boys handled themselves and promoted the series and went about their business.
“This is a quality team and they’re going to be winning a lot of matches. And although there hasn’t been any fallout over not winning the series 3-0, people have got to remember all three games were in Queensland.
“If you said that to anyone before the start of the series ‘Look there’s going to be three games all in Queensland’ I don’t think anyone would have given us a chance.
“But look what they did? They went up there and won the series – nearly got a clean sweep – so everyone in NSW should be very proud.
“I know I am.”