Fifita's Origin regret: I wish I'd got more ball
It's no secret that NSW wrecking ball Andrew Fifita didn't stamp himself on Origin Two in a tight 18-16 loss the way he did in a bulldozing man-of-the-match performance in the Blues' 28-4 Game One win.
Fifita knew he'd be a marked man heading into the high-pressure Sydney clash and while he feels the extra attention on him opened some opportunities for teammates, he still wishes he'd had more opportunities with the ball.
"I wish I got more ball, that was the only thing," Fifita said immediately after last Wednesday's loss.
"I feel I never got much ball in that game. In saying that I think my team and everyone knew I was a marked man… I just would have loved to have had some ball and do my job for my team."
Fifita said he was hopeful of getting some quick play-the-balls to help the team get a roll on but was frustrated in those attempts by Queensland's successful plan to increase the amount of wrestle in the ruck compared to Game One.
Stats suggest Fifita did get a bit more ball in Game One, where his stats read 48 minutes, 18 runs for 183 metres, including 68 post-contact metres. In Game Two all those numbers were down but only the metres were significantly reduced as Fifita netted 44 minutes, 16 runs and 93 metres (32 post-contact).
"I was there ready to roll but I was more used as a decoy," Fifita added.
"They (Queensland) were after me, you could tell that. They were sending a pack at me."
Fifita said he still tried to offer what he could with the ball, including his match-high four offloads. He also recalled examples in the early stages of the match where Aaron Woods and Josh Jackson were able to get their heads through the Queensland line while the defenders were focusing heavily on Fifita.
The Sharks prop said he didn't have a problem with the increased wrestle in the game though, despite it playing into the Maroons' hands.
"You could definitely feel it, [they were holding down] a lot longer than usual," he said.
"[But] there was a lot of niggling from both teams.
"It wasn't as fast as Game One, I could tell you that [but] the refs did their job. I felt like it was slower a bit. Game One was very fast. I think that's what they (Queensland) wanted. They wanted to slow it down because I don't think they can keep up with us in the middle."