Brad Fittler ‘uneasy’ throughout as new Blues combinations fail to gel

“I just felt like they had won a big chunk of the second half,” Fittler said. “I felt like Cody was struggling to get into the game. Jack did a brilliant job – it was a shame he threw an intercept – but prior to that his runs were great.

“There was an opportunity to get Cody back on when we needed a few tries. He came on and did a great job. He set up one try and looked dangerous for the rest of the game. I thought it worked well.”

The Maroons exposed NSW’s edge defence as the new combinations struggled to gel without the football.

“I don’t think we worked together that well on the edge in defence,” Fittler said. “They had some good players asking questions but I didn’t think they asked good enough questions to have us panic like we did.

“That was pretty disappointing.”

Asked why they got exposed, Fittler said: “Don’t know. Missed the occasion or lack of communication. Just a bit of panic there. I didn’t see much of that last year.

Professional foul: Latrell Mitchell is sent for 10 minutes in the sin bin. Credit:NRL Photos

“Be interesting how they felt out there. Some games you feel like part of a wall, at other times you’re on your own. At some stages it felt like they were on their own.”

Fittler woudn’t be drawn on whether there would be changes, but felt halfback Nathan Cleary performed strongly.

“I thought he was good,” Fittler said. “He came up with a nice goal kick at the appropriate time, which is not that easy. That was matched by Kalyn [Ponga] later. He was good.

“We didn’t use the ball as much as we would like to. Our combination is three or four games old. Sometimes as coaches you put a lot of pressure on, you’re playing with the best, to play this wonderful game of footy. Sometimes it’s a bit harder than that.”

NSW completed all but the last set in the opening half but was overrun by a rampant Queensland side in the second.

“They nailed the first 10 or 15 minutes, they took a lot of energy out of us there, they really won that battle,” Fittler said. “Apart from that I thought a nice pass from Ponga for the try and the other was an intercept.

“It’s not as if they broke us up the middle of the field.”

Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.

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