NSW players have credited Brad Fittler’s phone ban for helping the new-look Blues team gel in this year’s State of Origin series, with utility Tyrone Peachey revealing he had even continued the practice at Penrith.
Fittler has implemented a ban on the Blues using their phones in a team environment so they communicate with each other. Peachey said the players had been playing cards and taking part in other activities while in camp.
"I think that no phone rule has helped a lot and I think that is why the team chemistry is so good. The camps have been enjoyable and fun," Peachey said.
"Freddy wanted the players to actually talk to each other, communicate and get to know each other, and I think that is why the team gets along so well because we have actually had to get to know each other and talk."
After initially feeling "naked" without his phone, Peachey said he now avoided using it around teammates at the Panthers, as well as in Origin camp.
"I was struggling there for a bit but I got through it and now I feel like I don’t need to have my phone when I am around the boys," he said.
"After being in camp for so long you get used to not having a phone and you realise how much you do sit on it.
"I have tried to take that back into life and not sit on my phone so much because I realised I was doing it. You have to talk to people and actually get to know people, so it is good."
NSW second-rower Tyson Frizell said a lot of the players had found it hard to cope with the phone ban, when they first came into camp before Origin I.
However, the ban forced the Blues, who have featured 13 Origin debutants during their first series win since 2014, to spend more time socialising with Frizell saying the players had enjoyed each other’s company.
"We all end up in the corridor together, just hanging out with one another," Frizell said. "It’s a bit of fun, we are not on our phones so much so it’s a bit of time to hang out.
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"You don’t realise how much you rely on your phone and to take that away … and have to use your mouth to talk to one another is pretty different for some of us."
Frizell and five-eighth James Maloney have been winning an ongoing cards competition, in which Peachey has partnered with Jack de Belin. The Panthers star is hopeful of turning the tables before next Wednesday night's series finale at Suncorp Stadium.
"It’s been a fun camp so far and I have learned how to play 500," Peachey said. "It’s been really competitive. Jimmy and Friz have gotten the better of us so far but we have still got a couple of days left in camp so hopefully me and Jack can come over the top of them."