Queensland’s chairman of selectors Gene Miles doesn’t quite know what to expect from a Brad Fittler-led NSW State of Origin team this year.
But he does know one thing – there’ll be a “no dickheads” policy in place.
Miles reckons Fittler will rule the Blues with an iron fist in an effort to curb some of the bad behaviour that blighted the latter days of Laurie Daley’s reign as coach.
Phil Gould was among the critics who slammed NSW’s team culture in the wake of their 2-1 series loss, after Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson made a much-publicised visit to a pub on their day off in the lead-up to game three.
It all contributed to Daley’s demise and a push from within NSW Rugby League for a fresher, more disciplined approach, which Miles believes they’ll get in spades from Fittler.
“You always expect the unexpected with Brad,” Miles said on Thursday.
“I think there’ll the no dickhead policy, which they probably suffered from in recent times.
“I don’t think Brad will tolerate any of that – even though he has a good time himself, there’s a line in the sand.
“He’s very professional and he’s probably got a different view on the game.”
The Maroons have won 11 of the last 12 Origin titles, with Miles saying they would not underestimate Fittler’s influence as NSW looks to halt their incredible run of dominance.
This year looks as good a chance as the Blues will get, with Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk having retired from representative football, signalling a changing of the guard in Queensland.
“New coach, new ideas … he really got State of Origin footy in his time, Freddy,” he said.
“His record stands alone, too, for the Blues.
“They’ll be under the pump a bit … but they’ve got so much talent to pick from.
“You’re talking about the whole of the Dragons pack, apart from James Graham, of course.
“That would be really beneficial to a rep team.”