Fittler set to sit out Origin 3: Stuart - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fittler set to sit out Origin 3: Stuart

By Daniel Pace 18/06/2004 11:01:32 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters coach Ricky Stuart tipped Brad Fittler to miss the State of Origin series decider after the champion five-eighth bounced back in grand style.

Fittler brushed off the bitter disappointment of NSW's 22-18 loss to Queensland in his much-hyped Origin comeback on Wednesday night to lead the Roosters to a record 48-4 NRL victory over a depleted Newcastle at Aussie Stadium.

But Stuart believes the veteran still won't play in the deciding State of Origin clash.

Stuart gave Fittler an early shower in the 58th minute when the home side was leading 42-0 against a Knights outfit missing a swag of players, including Test pair Matt Gidley (quads) and Ben Kennedy (hamstring).

The eight-tries-to-one victory ensured the Roosters maintained their lofty position on top of the competition and consigned the Knights to their fourth-straight loss and a drop to 12th on the ladder.

The record scoreline eclipsed Sydney's 36-8 win over the Novocastrians in the finals series last year.

Fittler, who came out of representative retirement to play for the Blues in Origin II, is yet to decide whether he'll make himself available for the decider in Sydney on July 7.

But Stuart says with Trent Barrett and Shaun Timmins set to return from injury, the decision could be taken out of the 32-year-old Fittler's hands.

"You've got to remember Trent Barrett and Shaun Timmins are going to be fit and, realistically, it's their turn now. It's their era," said Stuart.

"Brad answered the call a couple of weeks ago and did his bit. Unfortunately for Brad he didn't win but for Shaun Timmins and Trent Barrett, it's their era."

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