No early Blues for Freddie’s NSW hopefuls
THERE'S only been two rounds played but NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fittler has watched the opening 16 games of the season and declared "We're looking good."
And Fittler has run a particularly close eye over the Manly Sea Eagles.
Fittler, the new Blues State of Origin coach, has been galvanised and heartened by the stellar early-season of many NSW hopefuls.
"It's a great start from our point of view. Really positive," Fittler told The Daily Telegraph.
"It's all going good - it feels like a lot of our players are standing up.
"A lot of NSW players have started the comp in good form. That's the pleasing part.
"It's only been two rounds but even in those two rounds it looks like everything is in order.
"There are some NSW teams up on top at the moment; Dragons, Wests Tigers, Penrith and Newcastle.
"They are all winning, that's a good thing. We need NSW teams winning."
Fittler offered his thoughts on several players but was reluctant to discuss in-depth all in-form stars available to NSW.
He has though been particularly impressed with Manly, who lost to Newcastle in golden point during round one before a record-breaking 54-0 win over Parramatta last Sunday at Brookvale Oval.
"Some of the Manly players are going good. Even their game against Newcastle, I didn't think they were too bad," Fittler said.
"Jake and Tommy (Trbojevic), Akuila (Uate) is going really good, their wingers are playing really well. Jorge Taufua. They've both played for NSW before.
"Manly's backrowers are going good too. I thought they were very good on the weekend."
Asked was he referring to Curtis Sironen and Joel Thompson, Fittler said: "Yeah."
"The Penrith players … they have to play better teams I think, teams that put them under more pressure. Canterbury has been a bit flat, Cronulla have been a bit flat.
"The good game this weekend will be Parramatta and Cronulla (at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night). Plenty of NSW players."
Fittler said there was still two months of football until Origin kicks off.
"And it can change from round to round," Fittler said.
The three Origin games this year will be played on June 6 (Melbourne), June 24 (Sydney) and July 11 (Brisbane).
NRL officials are confident all three matches will be sellouts. Ticket sales for the MCG match are selling strongly.
Fittler will be trying to wrestle back interstate control from Queensland, who have won 11 of the past 12 series.