Sport Fittler's unexpected reaction to Smith retirement

22:11  16 may  2018
22:11  16 may  2018 Source:   wwos.ninemsn.com.au

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NSW coach Brad Fittler says the task of winning the 2018 State of Origin series has become harder, following the retirement of Cameron Smith from representative football.

Smith announced his immediate retirement from representative football, bringing down the curtain on a glittering career that included 56 Tests and 42 State of Origin games.

Oddly enough, Fittler was in Melbourne to discuss his Origin plans with Storm coach Craig Bellamy when he found out about Smith’s retirement.

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The Blues coach spotted Maroons coach Kevin Walters at Storm training but still was oblivious to Smith’s decision to call time.

“I was walking up to watch a bit of training, and I’ve come back and looked, ‘Is that Kevin Walters?’ Then Cameron addressed his team and we didn’t really know what was going on,” said Fittler.

The new Blues coach said Bellamy was acting coy about what sort of announcement Smith was going to make but eventually found out about the hooker’s retirement while having coffee with the Storm mentor.

Fittler was honest when asked what his first reaction was to the news that the Maroons legend wouldn’t be in the Queensland side to face the Blues in Origin I in three weeks.

“The first thing wasn’t relief, the first thing was this is harder,” Fittler revealed.

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"I hated that mustache," Smith confirmed. "That was so bad." When asked about the Uncle Phil photo (which is actually a screenshot from the video up top), Smith touched on everything from the changing nature of celebrity to the pre-CD music era.

Smith stayed for three seasons and proved to be an extremely popular incarnation of the Doctor, while Moffat stayed in place long after Smith ’ s departure, finally announcing last week that he will be stepping down as showrunner at the end of season ten, which will air in 2017. The reaction to Moffat’ s

“It all changes. Most of your planning and your mindset is around beating a team with Cameron Smith in it. And most of your thought process goes into nullifying what he does.”

  Fittler's unexpected reaction to Smith retirement © Getty Images Fittler said the Blues mission becomes more difficult because Smith’s replacement has been waiting for their chance for a long time and they won’t die wondering.

“Whether it’s Andrew McCullough, Granville or Jake Friend. You’ve got someone who’s wanted to do this for a long, long time. But I’m thinking Andrew McCollough. That’s my initial thought.”

The Blues mentor admitted expectations for the Blues to win had lifted ever since Smith announced he wouldn’t be playing, but he said he’ll urge his players to concentrate on the task at hand.

“The team we’re going to pick is going to be team that isn’t focused on whether Cameron Smith is playing or not. It’s going to be on winning a series and hopefully changing a lot of opinions of NSW fans.”

Fittler will name his side in less than two weeks with both sides uncertain about who they will play at the hooker position.

While Nathan Peats is the NSW incumbent, there’s word the likes of Cameron McInnes, Damien Cook and Api Koroisau are all in contention to be selected for the hooking role.


Fifita says he'll play Origin for free .
In-form Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita has thrown another spanner in the works by pledging to play Origin for free in 2018 if picked by NSW coach Brad Fittler.The NRL's Dally M leader made the stunning pledge after leading Cronulla to their fifth straight win on Sunday, a 22-16 home triumph over Canterbury that vaulted the Sharks into fifth spot.

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