NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler is leaving no stone unturned to give himself an advantage over the Queensland Maroons ahead of the State of Origin series opener.
The Blues arrived in Adelaide yesterday as the countdown to the blockbuster game continues, with details of one of Fittler’s secret tactics also emerging.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: The Secret Tactic Brad Fittler Uses Before Blockbuster ‘State of Origin’
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7NEWS can reveal that Fittler took the players to the Adelaide Oval on Monday night to familiarize themselves with the terrain and the surroundings.
With the Origin series premiere set to take place on Wednesday night, Fittler wanted his team to get a feel for what the arena would look like that evening.
NSW made its captaincy run on Tuesday morning with star halfback Nathan Cleary, who is certain to play in the first game, although initial reports cast doubt on his suffering from wisdom tooth infection.
Fittler laughed at the drama and said that Cleary would definitely star in the Origin series opener.
“He’s had it (the dental problem) for months so there’s no problem and he’ll play and there’s never been a problem that meant he wouldn’t play,” Fittler said of the Blues arriving in Adelaide.
“His tooth is fine, he has had this tooth (problem) for a long time, the tooth is fine.”
Fittler smiled as he downplayed the issue, joking, “I’m not even sure he has the real tooth (the truth).”
Upon arrival at Adelaide Airport, Cleary was spotted by 7NEWS camera giving a thumbs up and saying “I’m fine” when asked about his infected wisdom tooth.
News of Latrell Mitchell’s absence with a calf injury has caught on in the QLD camp, with center Valentine Holmes and winger Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow potentially switching sides to take out Panthers duo Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o.
Fittler has fielded 47 players in his five-year tenure as manager of the NSW State of Origin team. However, he cannot recall experiencing the same noise that led to Cronulla playmaker Nicho Hynes being added to his 17-man squad.
“The media plays such a trick on you, they pick someone who is current,” Fittler told AAP ahead of the series’ opener on Wednesday at the Adelaide Oval.
“But Nicho confirmed it every week.
“He’s done it every round for two years now, so eventually it’s going to be fine (you have to pick him).”
Hynes is expected to come off the bench on his Origin debut, the latest step in a rapid rise heavily influenced by Maroons coach Billy Slater.
Hynes, who won the Dally M Award in his first season as a halfback with the Sharks last year, began his NRL career as a prospective fullback in Melbourne.
“He’s always sat down with Billy and Craig (Bellamy) and said he wants to get better,” said former Melbourne teammate and NSW winger Josh Addo-Carr.
“That’s why he’s where he is.”
– With AAP