Fittler hails 'brave' call as Blues reign supreme
Victorious Blues coach Brad Fittler has praised the 'brave' decision from the NRL Bunker to award a penalty try at a time he says his fired-up Blues were charging at Queensland and asserting their dominance.
The NSW mentor said his at-times erratic team were following through on his game plan, which was to continue to attack Queensland throughout the 80 minutes without ever going into their shell or looking to defend a lead.
Having slipped behind 10-0 early, the Blues clawed one back via a flat James Maloney cut-out pass to Josh Addo-Carr that had Fittler joking he almost pulled the playmaker off the field for offering Queensland another chance at a long-range intercept try.
"When Jimmy came and threw a cut out pas to the winger and there were three people that could have intercepted it I thought 'really?'… I was about to pull him off," Fittler laughed.
Maloney's pinpoint grubber to a charging Boyd Cordner five minutes later earned the Blues the lead when the Bunker deemed the Blues captain, with no chaser anywhere near him, was likely to score when taken off the ball by Ben Hunt.
"At that time we were coming to get them… that was our period," Fittler said.
"It was a brave call."
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Fittler also believed the sin-binning of James Roberts with just over 10 minutes to go, while not ideal, came at the best possible time because Queensland were playing from behind and forced to try and score.
"If you had to spend 10 minutes with 12 players at the death, it was a good time to have it because they had to come up with a try, they had new combination," Fittler said.
"I'm grateful if we had 12 players it was then."
History will show his players rallied impressively - Nathan Cleary cut down a runaway Valentine Holmes on the wing; Tom Trbojevic produced some superb reads and one-on-one tackles; Tyrone Peachey's fast fresh feet were injected to good effect while the likes of Jack De Belin, Tyson Frizell and Angus Crichton scrambled impressively.
"The players were very good, it was a really strong performance," Fittler said.
"Teddy (James Tedesco's try saving tackle) on Kalyn Ponga, Ponga was unbelievable In his first game… that was a brilliant tackle and to defend our line after that [was crucial]."
"Nathan [Cleary] was out there, a bit lost at times but when we needed a tackle down there on the sideline on a fast winger he was there to help. He was great tonight.
"They (the halves) were very hesitant in the first half but we had a chat at half time and the game changed."
Maloney, attending the press conference due to a late-game concussion to skipper Cordner, said it felt more special having fallen short before. Maloney has taken part in three unsuccessful series having won the first game in two of those.
"It's special when you've been in this arena and fallen just short a couple of times, there's probably a few guys in there, a lot of guys in there have played their first game and this is what Origin is, they come in and win the series. A few of us in there understand a bit more how special it is," Maloney said.
"We knew what we had to do, we spoke about it beforehand, it was never going to go to plan, it never does. Winning an Origin series is special and it's hard to do for a reason. We said before the game there'd be things go against us and how we reacted to that would determine the result.
"Things went against us, we reacted the right way and turned up for each other.
"The whole thing Freddy had said all week, everything you did you did for your teammate and that attitude came out in the last 10 minutes."
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