Fittler learns from Origin series defeat

NSW Origin coach Brad Fittler is already plotting for next year's series against Queensland.
NSW Origin coach Brad Fittler is already plotting for next year's series against Queensland.

A month on and Brad Fittler isn't losing any sleep over NSW's shock State of Origin series loss to Queensland.

But he admits he did learn one valuable lesson during his first series defeat in three years as Blues coach.

In future, Fittler won't pick any players that aren't 100 per cent healthy.

Skipper Boyd Cordner and superstar fullback James Tedesco both entered the series under fitness clouds, while playmaker Luke Keary was cooked after an exhaustive NRL campaign with the Sydney Roosters.

None of the trio completed the series, though it was a head knock and not his knee injury that ended Tedesco's series.

Jack Wighton hurt his knee in game one and battled on, while Cameron Murray succumbed to a hamstring injury.

"Health is such a big part in this game because it's so intense so I'll most probably learn something about that," Fittler told AAP on Wednesday.

"Everyone's different, obviously, so some players can carry injuries better than others.

"But pretty much health is so important.

"It just shows at the top end, the healthier the player, it just makes a difference."

Fittler remained loyal to most of the squad that won the 2019 series and doesn't plan on making mass changes in 2021 either.

"You never wipe the slate clean. I don't think that's ever the case," he said.

"Given our fullback went down injured in the last game, if I'd known that, I might have changed the team.

"Especially when it comes to injuries, it sends you down a bit of a different path.

"We had to deal with a few injuries and things. I don't think I would have changed anything."

Fittler would love another coaching crack at Maroons mentor Wayne Bennett next year after the master motivator orchestrated one of the great Origin series upsets in history.

Fittler even credits Bennett for setting up a rivalry for years to come between NSW and Queensland by introducing a stack of untried rookies to the interstate arena.

Annoyed that the Maroons were dubbed the worst team in Origin history by "someone who has never played before", Fittler believed the blooding of hooker Harry Grant, exciting backs AJ Brimson, Xavier Coates, Kurt Capewell, Corey Allan and forwards Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Lindsay Collins had proven a real leveller.

"I hope he (Bennett) keeps doing it. Whatever they did this year, they brought on some really good players," Fittler said.

"So they've set up the next six years.

"A lot of good young players have come through and between (Cameron) Munster and (Daly) Cherry-Evans they did a great job and the young hooker."

Fittler said the reason he isn't having any restless nights despite the unexpected series loss is because he prioritises his sleep.

"It's incredibly important," said the ResMed ambassador.

"My wife and family actually think I'm incredibly boring because recently I choose to go to bed than sit up and watch TV with them.

"I refuse to waste my time at night."

Australian Associated Press