Here we sit again. New South Wales enter Orgin 1 as heavy favourites, dominate the game and yet fall short as Queensland rampage home.

Stop me if you've heard this before.

Adelaide Oval played host to an entertaining series opener last night. Ultimately it went almost exactly, to the second, how I thought it would, but that's just Origin these days.

As NSW fans we always cringe at the "NSW don't get Origin, QLD do" claims from north of the Tweed but as I sit here today, it looks like total and utter truth.

NSW were outcoached, out enthused and ultimately out Origin'ed (let's make it a thing).

More State of Origin

» Zero Tackle's State of Origin HUB
» NSW player ratings
» QLD player ratings
» Origin 1 MVP votes
» Blues won't rule out changes for Game 2
» Is the 2023 series already over?
» Fittler explains use of Nicho Hynes

For all the calls, from myself included, to move Brad Fittler and his coaching staff on, we know it won't happen. I also lump the Penrith halves into this.

Nathan Cleary was ineffective last night. He looked lost at times. Unfortunately, he's seemingly above being thought of in a negative way so I'm not even going to waste word count here building a case for his being swapped out.

Wholesale changes are also unlikely so for the purpose of this, despite my personal thoughts, I'll stay away from this - to be discussed later.

Here are the three things Fittler and his staff need to do in order to turn the series around in three weeks time:

1. Pick players with a plan in mind - Hynes to start or not feature

My heart dropped the very second Nicho Hynes' name was announced by Brad Fittler. Not because he didn't deserve it but because I knew exactly what was coming.

Fittler had no plan for Hynes. I feel he was picked to avoid the likely public backlash of him not being selected.

Andrew Johns said something to the effect of that the plan was Hynes to come and play a bit of dummy half late on.

Nicho Hynes, the Dally M winning halfback coming on to play nine. Sounds like Fittler should have picked Damien Cook or Reece Robson for that role?

There were no plans to have Nicho go on last night. He ran on cold, only when Tom Trbojevic was ruled out via a head knock.

Hynes was thrown on, out of position, with no plan, and scrambled. He had one hit up, made one tackle and got burned in defence.

It was exactly the same thing that Fittler did to Siosifa Talakai last year. He was thrown on, seemingly without a plan or position, and asked to debut at Origin level.

If Fittler wanted to pick someone at dummy half to break the game open, pick a dummy half!

If Fittler wanted to pick a utility in case of injuries, he had to go with Matt Burton.

If Fittler wants to pick Hynes for Game 2, and it's almost unanimous that he should, it needs to be in six or seven.

Last night Fittler absolutely wasted a bench spot and dented the confidence of a player who will now likely be scapegoated for a must-win clash in Brisbane.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 30: Nicho Hynes poses during a New South Wales Blues State of Origin squad Media Opportunity at Crowne Plaza Coogee on May 30, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

2. Make the hard decisions - Tedesco and Turbo finales

Let me preface this by saying I am huge fans of both James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic. I also said that they absolutely had to be picked, if fit, for Origin 1.

Unfortunately their time in the Origin arena has now ended.

James Tedesco was the worst player on the park last night. Roosters fans will yell about his 217 metres being a game-high, and they have a point.

He was also a handbrake in attack, caught horribly out of position and outjumped by a prop forward.

Tom Trbojevic tried his backside off but he was used as a battering ram all night. The former Tommy Turbo is not built for that role.

The only time Trbojevic looked dangerous was when he was roaming in a ball-playing capacity.

I know full well that Tedesco will be picked for Game 2 but win or lose, this has to be his last series.

I would be naming Latrell Mitchell at fullback for Game 2, if fit, regardless but that's not going to happen.

NSW v QLD - State of Origin Game 2
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 26: James Tedesco of the Blues is tackled by Kurt Capewell of the Maroons during game two of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium on June 26, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

3. Ring the changes

I'm going to lump this into one spot but it's two points. First and foremost, Fittler needs to reward form. I mean long-term form.

Tevita Pangai Junior was selected on the back of one good game. He failed to crack 100 running metres and threw an offload that surrendered possession. He cannot be selected for Game 2.

Tevita Tatola is the man I would be calling. Many joked Fittler called the wrong Tevita. He needs to correct this for the return clash in Brisbane.

David Klemmer has missed one tackle all season and is dominating the middle in a struggling side yet has seemingly been forgotten. His form suggests she should be picked also.

Campbell Graham has been the form centre of the competition and needs to come straight in for Tom Trbojevic. I can't see any argument against that.

If Latrell is fit, he and his Souths teammate form the new centre pairing. Matt Burton is the next man up if required.

Secondly, Fittler needs to put pride, and this ridiculous "pick and stick" notion aside and pick an in form team to win the game.

Picking and sticking worked for QLD when they had names like Greg Inglis, current coach Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith. Of course you're going to stick with those immortal-like superstars.

Hudson Young got caught up last night in the emotion and made some errors in judgement. Keaon Koloamatangi should come in for him. This is a no-brainer.

I believe Hudson Young still has a huge rep future and his selection was very much justified, howevr he was caught like a deer in headlights last night.

As I alluded to earlier, I'd be looking very closely at Tedesco and Cleary but I don't think it's likely we'll see their positions considered.

Below is a summation of feasable changes that must be considered:

- Koloamatangi in for Young.
- Tatola in for Pangai Jr.
- Campbell Graham and Latrell Mitchell in at centre for Turbo and Crichton.
- Burton/Cook in for Hynes.

The Blues simply must do something - Origin, and Brad Fittler's job, is on the line in Brisbane.


  1. I think Nicho Hynes was also picked due to that Origin game a few years ago where Tedesco was knocked out in the first few minutes and Fittler only had forwards on the bench. He has since been determined not to make that mistake again.
    Not that I disagree with you, mind.

  2. I take your point about Nathan and Teddy being “untouchable”. Teddy in particular was poor.

    In my ideal world I’d swap in Dylan Edwards for Teddy, and play Cooke as the “second dummy half”. Poor Aapi seemed knackered, having to play 80 minutes.

    Going in without a genuine backline utility is a gamble, but it is a risk that Brad Fittler needs to run. With four (decent, in-form) forwards on the bench he can be confident of winning the middle.

    Conversely, if he can’t win the middle it doesn’t matter whether or not there is a back on the bench, because NSW will lose the game..

  3. The “love of jersey” debates are a load of crap. The difference is there are no grubby depths the Queenslanders will not stoop to in order to win, while NSW players seem to better follow the ethics of sportsmanship more closely.

Comments are closed.