Junior Paulo has emphasised the importance of the upcoming game against Queensland, describing it as one of the most significant matches for New South Wales in recent memory. With Brad Fittler‘s coaching position hanging in the balance, a loss in the match on June 21 would result in as many series defeats as victories for him. Fittler, who has been the Blues’ coach since 2018, has been under pressure after winning only one series out of the games between 2020 and 2022, despite being the favorites. He has acknowledged that his job depends on leveling the series at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
As the coach responsible for debuting all but two of the current Blues team, Fittler has shown faith in his players over the past couple of years. Now, it is time for NSW to repay that faith by winning the crucial game. Paulo acknowledged the importance of the match, not only for the players but for the whole team. He said, “This is going to be one of the biggest games for NSW in recent years.” The team understands the criticism surrounding them and the coaching staff, and they are determined to prove themselves in this match to salvage the series and secure Fittler’s job.
Paulo believes that the key to victory lies in finding a level of ruthlessness that they lacked in their previous match at Adelaide Oval. He emphasised the need to execute every moment in State of Origin as opportunities are limited. The players must enter the game with the mindset of actively chasing success rather than passively watching the game unfold. James Tedesco, who has been NSW’s captain for more than half of Fittler’s tenure, acknowledged the pressure on the team and the consequences of another loss. He stated, “If we don’t perform, then that’s what happens, particularly in the biggest games of rugby league.” However, Tedesco encouraged the team to focus on the positives and not dwell on the negatives.
Josh Addo-Carr, who made his debut under Fittler’s coaching, expressed admiration for the coach, describing him as both a wonderful coach and a wonderful person. Despite falling out of favor in 2022 and earning a Blues recall this year, Addo-Carr has full confidence in Fittler and believes that the team supports him wholeheartedly. He praised Fittler for his ability to bring the players together and stated that the team is solely focused on the game, disregarding any outside noise.
With Fittler’s coaching job on the line, the NSW Blues are determined to win the upcoming match against Queensland. They understand the significance of the game and the impact it holds for the entire team. For Fittler, a victory is crucial to secure his position and prove his coaching prowess. The players are motivated to repay the faith Fittler has shown in them and execute every moment with a ruthless mentality. With the captain and new players alike voicing their support for Fittler, the team remains united and focused on the task at hand, determined to block out any distractions.