Game 1, Queensland Maroons vs NSW Blues, live blog, stream, squads, start time how to watch, squads, news, updates

Worst Queensland Origin team in 40 years … the Blues in a streak sweep.

All the pressure was on New South Wales last year as Brad Fittler’s men were tipped for a new era of supremacy in the Origin arena.

Matthew Johns believes it has had a negative impact – even on the coaching staff and Fittler himself.

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“Freddy alluded to the fact that he learned his lesson from last year,” Johns said in a special State of Origin preview episode of Matty Johns Podcast.

“I think after winning the series the year before I think there was a general feeling in NSW that bled into the coaching staff that we were about to get into. an era of absolute domination.

“Sometimes when you think like that, you just think it’s going to happen. Freddy himself admits he’s probably relaxed a bit, got into it and wasn’t as intense as the year before and I think coaches when they’re training at their best are alert. , they don’t relax, they have a nimble mind because things change. “

Johns, however, believes there will be a transformed Fittler at the helm this season.

“Freddy came out and said he thought he had let himself down,” he said.

“I think it will be a completely different Freddy Fittler. He will be returning to the Freddy from the previous year.

HOW GRANT PROVEN HE WAS ‘SPECIAL’ IN A TRAINING SESSION

Harry Grant only took 55 minutes last year to prove he was ready for the Origin arena.

Benji Marshall, however, revealed that it only took one training session to convince him that Grant was something special.

Grant spent a season with the Wests Tigers on loan from the Melbourne Storm and although Marshall didn’t see him play at the time, he said it quickly became clear how professional the youngster is.

“To be honest I wasn’t sure [how good he was] because I had not seen him play ”, he declared Triple M.

“I attended a training session when I was there and it convinced me without having to know he was special. I was so impressed not only with the way he trained and played, but he’s just such a good young boy. Really down to earth, I loved learning.

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“He showed up to the meetings with a notepad and wrote down whatever the coach said and got it all.”

Marshall did everything you can in the game, but even he was taken aback by Grant’s approach.

“After the meeting you would see him in the hangars and he would look at all the writing,” the Rabbitohs playmaker added.

“I looked at him and said, ‘What are you doing?’ and he said, “To be honest with you, in Melbourne it’s okay. Cameron was doing it, Cooper was doing it.” They write everything down and remember it. It’s like a full study session.

“For a kid you just don’t see that stuff and that just summed up where I thought he was going to go and all credit to Harry, he did a really good job.”

Grant had an immediate impact on his debut with Origin last year, finishing with 67 yards of running, four tackle stops, two line-breaking assists and two assists to go with his own four pointers.

Fox League’s James Hooper revealed the Triple M that Grant’s rapid rise to the Maroons jersey had been announced in advance by Matty Johns.

“We heard about his name before he made his debut for many years,” Hooper said.

“I remember telling a lot of people in the game about him and he was playing in the Queensland Cup and Cooper Johns was on the same side.

“I called Matty Johns and asked him about him and he said, ‘Buddy, this kid will be the Queensland hooker for the next 10 years.’

WIGHTON’S SURPRISE BENCH ROLE AS BRANDY SUPPORTS LUAI

Meanwhile, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart suggested Jack Wighton be used as a forward off the bench.

Panther Jarome Luai was chosen ahead of Wighton in the five-eighth jumper, prompting questions about exactly how the Raider would be used.

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Brad Fittler told Sydney Morning Herald that Wighton “covers everything from backrow to [to the wing]”And that he could even“ play the back ”in the event of an injury.

Stuart also pitched the idea of ​​playing Wighton in the middle or on the edge, telling the Herald: “If necessary for a shorter stint, he could play on an edge or even play in the middle. “

Elsewhere, Greg Alexander backed Luai to prove his skeptics wrong in the Origin arena, explaining to NRL 360 why the five-eighth Panthers were given the green light in the No.6 shirt.

Wighton was under the halftime selection but was instead picked off the bench, with Luai and halftime partner Nathan Cleary backed to lead the Blues.

There are concerns that Luai and his Panthers teammates could struggle if they don’t have the same amount of time and space on offense as they are on club ground.

Alexander is not worried, however.

“I just think he’s the kind of player who can handle great times and I think he’s shown that over the past two seasons,” he said.

“He’s become a player who isn’t that flashy and attacking, he’s got a lot more going on in his game and has built his game to be a better manager of it.

“But also those elements of those games that make him an Origin player – his kicking game, he’s a good defender, besides being that touch of brilliance with football. no doubt he can handle it.

“[He] was at camp with the boys last year, so he knows all the players.

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BIG CHANGE IN LATRELL BEFORE THE RETURN OF BLUES

Elsewhere in the Blues camp, advisor Greg Alexander revealed the big change in Latrell Mitchell that prepared him to perform on the big stage again.

Mitchell will burn out for the first time in a Blues jersey since being scrapped after the 2019 Series opener.

Two years later, he was recalled and received another injection in the centers, Alexander recounting Fox League LNR 360that Mitchell is “just a little more experienced” now.

“Everyone is growing up and Latrell is still a young man, so Latrell has been through a lot since he last played Origin,” he said.

Alexander also added that Mitchell’s mere presence in the Blues camp had an immediate impact on the group as a whole.

“It was great to have him back at camp,” he added.

“You forget how great a personality he is besides being an exceptional footballer.

“He’s great in the camp. He and Josh Addo-Carr have a great relationship. Latrell has had a great season and has played a few games now on suspension and is ready to go.


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