Freddy shoots NRL stern warning
SUNDAY night State of Origin football may have proven a hit but successful NSW coach Brad Fittler has warned the NRL not to tinker too much more with their "jewel in the crown".
A sold-out crowd of 82,223 packed ANZ Stadium to witness the first Origin played on a Sunday night since 2001 and only fourth in history.
Fittler paid tribute to them, saying their support helped the Blues clinch just their second series victory in 13 years with an 18-14 game two triumph. However he was wary of the NRL making any more changes to the format due to player welfare concerns.
The 34 combatants only had a seven-day preparation for the Sunday clash in contrast to the 10-day lead-up to the traditional Wednesday evening Origin.
"There's going to be a lot of debate (over Sunday night Origin). The one thing that is important is that we don't disrespect the product of State of Origin," Fittler said.
"The reason why the quality is always here is the turnaround, you have time with teams.
"We had a wonderful international game (Pacific Tests) and the women's (Origin) game was brilliant (on Friday night) but you can't turn away from the fact that State of Origin is the jewel in the crown outside our grand final.
"If you want to keep improving the product you need to give them time to rest and recover - that's one of the main reasons why the quality keeps improving and you get a performance like that (on Sunday night).
"We have to make it work. I don't know how."
Apart from the result, Queensland captain Greg Inglis had no problem with Sunday night Origin.
"I think both teams have the right people in place to make sure players are well prepared for Origin - if you are not ready for Origin you shouldn't be in this arena," he said.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters reckoned the shorter turnaround even benefited his team as they tried to back up from their 22-12 series opening loss. "It probably helped us a little bit. We wanted to get back out on the field and try to challenge again after a game one loss," he said.
"I thought it worked well for us and we saw a great game of footy. There is every indication it was a success."
Game three will be held in Brisbane on July 11 - a Wednesday night.