NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler will be making no early promises for this year’s State of Origin selection.
The most-capped Blues player will be keeping a close eye on all players in contention for selection in the early rounds of the Telstra Premiership but is making no early guarantees.
“Completely open mind. The great Gus [Phil] Gould told me that. He said ‘don’t pick your team early’, it only leads to disappointment,” he said.
“The good thing is all players are in contention, there’s a lot there too. They all look like they’re fit, everyone is healthy and looking fast at the moment.”
NSW haven’t held the Origin shield since 2014 and Fittler said breaking Queensland’s stranglehold would ultimately be up to the Blues players.
“It all comes back to the players, we’ve got to learn to start well,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to how they start the season. I’ve been watching the trials and it will be really interesting to see who kicks out of the blocks.”
After coaching him while overseeing the Lebanon side in the 2017 World Cup, Fittler said Parramatta Eels five-eighth Mitchell Moses had shown he was up to the rigours of the representative arena.
“He was great playing for Lebanon. I think Parramatta are one of those teams that I think everyone’s hoping will jump out of the blocks because they’re an exciting team,” Fittler said.
“If that is the case, then I’m sure Mitchell will be putting his hand up because he will be a big part in them winning, I’d say.”
For the Blues to rise again, Fittler would like to see the NSW-based clubs step up a level to help the state in its bid to dominate.
“Just be really competitive. It’s been a while since the Sydney teams have really jumped to the top of the ladder and stayed there,” he said.
“It’s been dominated by Melbourne and the Cowboys so it will be good to see some Sydney teams to get everyone excited round here.”
Even though there is still more than three months until the series kicks off at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 6, Fittler said fans were already buzzing about their quest for redemption.
“It’s amazing the amount of people that are interested and want to talk about State of Origin,” he said.
“We gotta win, that was it.”