NSW Origin coach, Brad Fittler, is leaving no stone unturned as he prepares for the series opener against Queensland. The Blues arrived in Adelaide on Monday, and Fittler wasted no time getting his players to the Adelaide Oval to familiarise themselves with the ground and its surroundings. The New South Wales team will play during the evening, so Fittler wanted his team to get a feel for what the arena would be like during the night.
Despite early reports suggesting that star halfback, Nathan Cleary, was in doubt for Game I with an infected wisdom tooth, Fittler confirmed that he said Cleary would definitely play in the Origin series opener. Fittler has downplayed the tooth issue, stating that Cleary has had it for months, and the tooth is fine. Upon arrival at Adelaide airport, Cleary gave a thumbs up, saying “I’m good” when asked about his infected wisdom tooth.
News of the absence of Latrell Mitchell with a calf injury has made its way into the Queensland camp. Centre Valentine Holmes and winger Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow may switch sides to nullify the duo of Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o.
Fittler has used 47 players in his five-year tenure as the NSW State of Origin coach. He may not have experienced the same level of clamour that has willed Melbourne Storm playmaker, Nicho Hynes, into his 17-man squad. However, Fittler stated that he has been impressed by Hynes’ consistency and he has been backing it up every week.
Hynes is expected to make his Origin debut as a bench player. His rapid rise to success has been influenced heavily by Maroons coach, Billy Slater. Hynes began his NRL career as a fullback at Melbourne Storm, where he frequently asked Slater and Craig Bellamy to help him improve his skills. Josh Addo-Carr, who is a former teammate of Hynes, praised his dedication saying, “That’s why he’s where he is.”