True Blue Peter Sterling has told the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues to never take the moment for granted when they take the field for Game Three of the Ampol State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night, after being called in as a special guest for the jumper presentations.
Sterling, who played 13 games for NSW from 1981-88 and was part of the first NSW team to win a series clean sweep in 1986, presented the jumpers to the players on Monday night apart from Jacob Saifiti who received his from his mother Bev and partner Imogen.
NSW captain James Tedesco said the players had taken a lot out of the talk, particularly around the trust the players needed to have in each other if they were to become only the third NSW team in Origin history to win a decider in Brisbane.
“He’s a great man Sterlo,” Tedesco said.
“It was really inspirational and motivating the way he talked to us. The big thing we got out of it was don’t take it for granted.
“There’s only so many times where you get a chance to play for your state and play with a group of guys in this arena.
“I feel a lot of us took a lot out of that, where tomorrow night before we get ready to come out, we’re making sure we’re doing everything we can to win this game.
“That trust and belief in each other, I really feel he got that across to us.
“We’re motivated enough and we’ve been motivated enough throughout the week but definitely that last word to make sure we’re all on the same page. We’re all going out there together and it’s just going to be us 17 guys out there on the field.
“We know we’ve got a whole state back home behind us but tomorrow night it’s just going to be us out there and we look around in each other’s eyes and guarantee that we’re all going to give our best and do everything we can to win.”
NSW has only managed to win deciders in Brisbane in 1994 and 2005 which reinforces the challenge facing the players tomorrow night.
Fittler said he had always picked up on Sterling's passion for his state, having sat alongside him for many years in the Channel Nine commentary box before Sterling retired last year.
“I think everyone sees how astute he is about the game but he’s always been very passionate about NSW,” Fittler said.
“He’s a great fan, a great supporter of NSW and he had some really nice things to say and some good advice as well.”
Fittler also said it had been a very moving presentation to Saifiti by his mother.
“She brought the house down Bev,” Fittler said.
“It was quite the speech actually, it was fantastic. It’s always great to see other perspectives.
“Obviously, we always see the stories of the players but to hear it from a mother’s point of view and how proud she is had everyone searching for handkerchiefs.”
An emotional Bev told the group how proud she was of Jacob and how honoured she felt to see him make his debut for NSW on the back of his twin brother Daniel, who has played seven times for his state from 2019-21.
“Every parent’s prayers are answered when you get to see your child live out his dream,” she said.
“I saw it in Perth with your brother (Daniel), now I get to see it in Brisbane with you.
“Mate, I know how hard you have worked and the hurdles you have overcome. You deserve this. I know you will do all of us proud.”
Jacob was grateful for the opportunity to pull on the sky blue jumper.
“Thank you Freddy for picking me to do the job,” he said.
“I will do whatever it takes to get the job done for the team.”