Origin coaches call for discipline in series opener
Rival State of Origin coaches Brad Fittler and Kevin Walters have stressed the need for discipline from their players after agreeing that the 2018 rules crackdown from referees will continue in Wednesday night's series opener at the MCG.
Speaking at a joint coaches and captains press conference on Monday morning, Walters and Fittler said they expected the game to be refereed like any NRL match.
Walters said his team had benefited from working with referees at training over the weekend.
"They were very good," Walters said.
"We expect the referees to be no different from what they've been doing. Our team will need to be disciplined – if you're not disciplined you don't win Origin."
The Maroons coach confirmed that Ben Hunt (cork), Josh McGuire (ankle) and Billy Slater (hamstring) were all expected to be fit to play and that Valentine Holmes would be Queensland's first-choice goal kicker.
"They're all going well and on target. They all trained yesterday. We've got one training session to get through obviously with the captain's run but we expect to have a fully fit team on Wednesday night," Walters said.
Fittler, who also brought referees in to Blues camp last week, agreed discipline was crucial.
"Like Kevvie, we ask our players to be disciplined," Fittler said. "That's why they're at this level, to show discipline under fatigue, under pressure."
Fittler is in his first campaign as Blues coach but played a NSW record 31 Origin games as a player, and was conscious of not burning out his players too early in the preparation.
"I remember as a player because of the long preparation you've got to be careful with the build-up, getting too nervous too early," he said.
"There are no second chances here folks. We've got to win this game.
"Obviously there will be a reaction to this game, whoever wins or loses. We've got to get it right [and] we reckon we have – everyone's in a good mood."
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