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Freddy’s Panthers obsession is what cost the Blues Origin

Brad Fittler has to take the blame for NSW’s shock State of Origin series loss.

When somebody takes responsibility for wins, they have to wear the losses as well.

Fittler’s choices from game one were ordinary. Yes, he was without two of the best players at his disposal in Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic, but everything was wrong from game one onwards.

The eight players (yes that’s right) from one club – even if that club is the Panthers – was ludicrous.

Combinations are worthwhile for selection duties, but almost 50 per means you’ve basically selected a club team.

Now, the Panthers are atop the ladder, but to suggest they have eight of the best players in the competition in one team out of sixteen is fanciful.

This is state versus state: it’s turned into state versus club.

In Game 2, Fittler went with Jake Trbojevic and Angus Crichton, and kept Stephen Crichton despite his mediocrity in the position.

He’s not a right or left centre – both Jake and Angus delivered, as did Jacob Saifiti, but heart lost out to skill.

With that in mind, Jarome Luai is not an Origin player, while Matt Burton and Nathan Cleary are.

Maroons and Blues in a State of Origin scuffle

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

This is not a mark against Luai, who remains elite at club level – but he simply didn’t step up. He was on the back of tries, yes, but he predominantly runs off Cleary, his Panthers partner.

This isn’t Origin. Look at how well Daly Cherry-Evans and Cam Munster or Tom Dearden combined for the Maroons; none of them play for the same team, and it doesn’t make a lick of difference.

Origin is won on passion and heart. Queensland always bring it. The players they drew on played with heart, pure and simple – and wanted it more.

Queensland believes in Origin more than NSW – it’s a different world in Brisbane during Origin week than it is down south.

It’s almost as though it helps them live. They are more passionate for any sport than most around the world.

Fittler put his heart on the line, and gave his all, but it wasn’t enough.

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