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Opposed session filled with Origin lessons

The CABE NSW Under 19s men’s team got a taste of what their future might look like when they trained with the Westpac NSW Blues at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence on Sunday (9 July).

The two sides had an hour-long opposed session, at top speed and with contact, as a vital part of their pre-game preparation – the men at Accor Stadium on Wednesday for Game Three of the Ampol State of Origin series and the U19s at Kayo Stadium in Redcliffe on Thursday (13 July) for their one-off game against the Maroons. 

“Such a good day because we think about someone like Bradman Best, who ran here (Under 17s) not that long ago,” said Blues assistant coach and former NSW skipper Danny Buderus.

“It’s an important day for both teams but also for the pathways for NSW.

“It’s good to test out some of our game plan because it’s a very dangerous Queensland team – so there’s parts we need to improve on as well.”

CABE NSW Under 19s prop Samuela Fainu
CABE NSW Under 19s prop Samuela Fainu

Head Coach Brad Fittler handed some set plays to the Under 19s coaching staff, headed by True Blue Andrew Ryan, so they could run those at the Origin players to test middles and edges’ defence.

In contrast Ryan had the Under 19s try some of their planned attacking moves on the Origin stars.

“Some of these boys have played NRL already – maybe only a couple of games – but they’re training full time and you see the intensity in them. It’s fantastic to see actually,” Ryan said.

“We had a bit of a chat about it (opposed session) this morning in that it’s about trying to prepare the Origin side as best we can and it will help us as well.

“We’ve seen it many times over the years of players being in these teams and then they’re up on the big stage.

“These boys have seen that happen and know that they are now in that same pathway and it’s not far off for them.”

A plethora of True Blues talent – now coaching staff – watched from the sidelines at the COE.

Fittler has Buderus, Paul McGregor, Andrew Johns and Greg Alexander in his brains trust – or 95 Origin matches in total - while Ryan has Mark O’Meley, Josh Jackson and Shaun Timmins (40 games for NSW).

Buderus and Ryan were part of the NSW Origin side that lost Games One and Two in 2007 but saved a whitewash by winning Game Three (18-4) at Suncorp Stadium.

“It always comes down to moments… those Origin moments… and we need to be better at those,” Buderus said.

“It’s something we’ve been focusing on because there’s no such thing as a dead rubber – there is always so much to play for.

“You put the series behind you and you talk about the game – the privilege and opportunity to represent NSW.”

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.

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