We're behind Qld in Origin prep: Fittler - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

We're behind Qld in Origin prep: Fittler

David Beniuk 05/05/2011 08:01:45 PM Comments (0)

NSW City Origin coach Brad Fittler concedes the Blues are a long way behind Queensland in being ready for the State of Origin rugby league series kicking off in just under three weeks.

The revamped Blues' set-up begin their quest to end Queensland's five-series domination when Fittler's City take on Country Origin on Friday night in Albury.

NSW coach Ricky Stuart says the match is a genuine selection trial, complete with some of the plays he intends to use against Queensland, as he seeks to have the Blues ready for game one on May 25 at Suncorp Stadium.

NSW legend Fittler, who had worked closely with Stuart in selecting and preparing the City side, said the state's Origin hopefuls had been lagging behind their Maroons' counterparts so far in the NRL.

"I don't know if our players have been at the same level as the Queenslanders," he told reporters on Thursday.

"But the next four or five weeks is the real crucial time (in terms of) whatever team they pick and how we support it and how they come together.

"The standout teams at the moment are Brisbane, Melbourne, North Queensland. They're all sides three-quarters filled with Queenslanders.

"You just see the attitude of like a (Cowboys co-captain) Matty Scott, a prop forward who seems to be going out targeting different props.

"We need to be talking about that sort of stuff and there's most probably another level."

Fittler said only St George-Illawarra, who had 10 players on representative duty this weekend, had shown any semblance of the form needed heading into an Origin series.

"Some of our players are playing great, a lot of the Saints blokes - Gasnier, Soward's been fantastic this year, Benny Creagh's been fantastic - so we're not hopeless," Fittler said.

"I reckon there's about seven or eight positions there where we most probably can pick up."

Fittler might be hoping his comments fire up the City and Country hopefuls in front of Stuart, who will travelto Albury to watch the game before naming his Origin I outfit on May 16.

"The big thing is I think he's watching to see how players come together and that's the key with Origin," Fittler said.

"He's mostly going to see which blokes come here and support each other ... it's not necessarily the bloke who scores a try but it might be the bloke who stopped a try or helped out another player."

Fittler and Country counterpart Laurie Daley said using some of Stuart's calls would help in having the Blues better prepared than in previous years.

"In the past, I think this game's been criticised and he's trying to utilise the game for something," Fittler said.

"All the players that come in, at least they'll know calls and some directions and where to go, so already they're most probably a day ahead of where they were last year."

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