NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has admitted he has no plan for Clint Gutherson in State of Origin 3.

Selected on the Blues bench alongside Reece Robson and a pair of forwards in Isaah Yeo and Jacob Saifiti, Gutherson was one of seven new faces for Game 3, with Fittler raising eyebrows over his selection in what could be his final game as coach of the Blues.

Given Reece Robson is on the bench as a specialist dummy half, Gutherson will likely only be used as cover for an injured back, unless he was to be slotted into the forwards, where he has never played at NRL level.

Fittler only added fuel to those questioning his team selection though, telling SEN Radio on Sunday afternoon that he hasn't got a plan for the Parramatta Eels' fullback.

The coach instead pointed at the back that the Blues have had injury issues in the outside backs.

“Well, to be fair, I haven't got a plan (for Gutherson),” Fittler told SEN 1170 The Run Home.

“When you're picking that last position and we had two hookers… given our luck in the first two games from the point of view from some of our injuries, they've been in the outside backs.

“In nearly most games, we've had an injury in the outside backs, so Gutho covers anywhere from five-eighth to fullback but there's no plan (for him).”

The Blues lost Tom Trbojevic to a concussion with ten minutes to go in the opening game, with Nicho Hynes filling in at the back-end of the game after being picked as the bench utility.

Game 2 saw Trbojevic injured in the opening minutes with what will be a season-ending pectoral problem, but without a back on the bench, the Blues had to utilise Damien Cook in the centres.

Fittler said Gutherson had added plenty to the Origin camp regardless of his role, which will be of little comfort to Parramatta fans who had to watch their understrength side fall heavily at the hands of the red-hot New Zealand Warriors on Saturday evening without Gutherson.

“What I do love, I love what he's about, he's full of energy, whether you're having breakfast, whether you're doing fitness drills or playing in a game, he's always contributing,” Fittler added.

“He's good fun to have around, watch what he does Paramatta every single week, he's just wholehearted.

“I love rewarding players like that.”

The Blues will look to avoid a series whitewash in Game 3, which kicks off at 8:05pm (AEST) on Wednesday.

1 COMMENT

  1. “I love rewarding players like that.”

    I wonder if Brad Fittler has ever stopped and asked himself whether players do feel that they are being “rewarded”, or whether they might regard Origin selection as an imposition; one which damages the chances of their club and their teammates.

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