Why NSW will win State of Origin

I went to my doctor late last year. He politely suggested that I should go on a diet and lose a few kilos. While he never used the term obese, at one point he did ask me to move as I was blocking the light.
I did go on a bit of a diet and managed to lose a few kilos, but now I am in real danger of putting it all back on plus more.
There is a real chance I might have to eat my words.
You see, I am going out on a limb and declaring that NSW will win this year’s Rugby League State of Origin. And here’s why.
For the first time since Queensland started their dominance back in 2006 after Andrew Johns retired, NSW are able to pick key players from teams that are in form.
Of the 17 players picked for NSW, 13 are from teams inside the top eight, compared to nine for Queensland. More importantly, nine of the Blues are from teams inside the top four compared to four from the Maroons.
At the other end of the table, Brad Fittler is calling on three only players from teams in the bottom four, while Kevin Walters has to rely on five players whose teams are languishing at the wrong end of the ladder.
I think we are finally starting to see a changing of the guard. It is generally agreed that four teams are basically Queensland feeder teams: Brisbane, North Queensland, Gold Coast and Melbourne.
None of these teams is in the top four and two of them are in the bottom four.
Brad “Freddy” Fittler
And then there’s Brad Fittler. Freddy was one of the great players and characters of the game, who was known for his laidback attitude.
Early in his coaching career, he had a few “issues” including trying to get into the wrong motel room in Townsville in 2009 while intoxicated and  dressed only in his shorts.
That year was a terrible year for the Roosters. They only won five games and finished with the dreaded wooden spoon.
Following a review at the end of 2009, Fittler’s coaching career ended. Many thought that he moved into coaching too young and was more of a friend to the players than a coach.
Since then, Fittler has changed. In 2013 he helped found Hogs for the Homeless with Nathan Hindmarsh, where former NRL players ride around the state on their Harley-Davidsons, raising awareness of homelessness, as well as much needed funds for Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets.
For all I know, Freddy may still be the same person he always was, but it seems like he is a more mature person now.
It was no surprise that Freddy took all of the Blues players down to Woolloomooloo after training yesterday to mingle with and help feed the homeless. It is the type of experience that could very well galvanise the playing group.
Fittler has picked a very young and inexperienced team, but a very talented one. His role is not so much to coach them as they all have the skills and ability to play Origin. Fittler’s role is to act as a mentor and get the most out of the playing group.
From what I have seen so far, Freddy is up for the challenge and will ensure that I won’t have to eat my words.

And remember, there’s no such thing as too much sport!


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