Greatness beckons for Blues: Fittler
NSW coach Brad Fittler will consider his inexperienced Blues among the greatest teams in State of Origin history if they complete a clean sweep on Wednesday.
Only seven teams have claimed a 3-0 series win since three-game Origin series were introduced in 1982 .
The last time the feat was achieved was by Queensland eight years ago with a side that featured Billy Slater, Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith.
The last time NSW won all three games was in 2000, with a team including Andrew Johns, Ryan Girdler, Geoff Toovey and Fittler himself.
Fittler believed the fact the Maroons only did it once during their 12-year dynasty showed the enormity of the achievement and it would be even more remarkable for the rookie-laden 2018 Blues.
Asked if his team would rank among Origin's best should they win game three at Suncorp Stadium, Fittler said: "In my eyes. They don't come easy.
"Through that whole reign of Queensland, they did it once. So it just says it's not easy to do for whatever reason.
"There's some real big challenges mentally to get over the top of, and physically. If (NSW) can do that, for a lot of blokes who are playing Origin for their first time, it'd be pretty impressive."
Fittler insisted his team's intensity hadn't dropped in its latest preparation, but said the evidence would be in their performance.
The Blues have failed six times in nine attempts at a series whitewash."I suppose there's a little bit of doubt there," Fittler said.
"You wonder how it's all going to come out. But the effort's been the same if not better, just because they know each other and know how to push each other now.
"Only two teams in the last 21 years have done it. So there's a fair carrot there. Some great teams. Only great teams get to do it, so this team gets an opportunity."
NSW legend Tommy Raudonikis, who coached the Blues to series wins in 1997-98, presented players with their jerseys on Monday night. Raudonikis was only last month cleared of a cancer to his throat.
We had a phone call when we were in Melbourne before the game. That was the day he got the all-clear from his doctor. He had a tumour cut out of his neck," Fittler said.
"It was wonderful to have him here. He couldn't help himself, got a bit excited. It was good. He's a real character and very passionate about State of Origin."