Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has welcomed the return of the Ampol State of Origin series to its traditional mid-season timeslot and remains hopeful he can gather an extended squad together as part of the preparations to reclaim the Shield.
The NRL announced today the 2021 Origin series will return to the middle of the year with Game One to be played on Wednesday June 9, Game Two on Sunday June 27 and Game Three on Wednesday June 25. The Harvey Norman Women’s Origin match will be played on Friday June 25.
The move follows Origin being shifted this year to a two-week period in November because of the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted the season. The Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues put up a spirited performance before losing the series 2-1 to hand the Shield over to Queensland for the first time in two years.
“(Comparing timeslots) is totally unrelatable purely because of the circumstances of COVID and people at games,” Fittler told nswrl.com.au.
“It was what it was.
"I’ve only ever known it in the middle of the year, I’ve liked it in the middle of the year and I’m happy for it to be in the middle of the year.”
Fittler said he was hoping to gather players together in the lead-up to next year’s series in line with previous camps where the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues, Emerging Blues and Future Blues have all gathered at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence for training and/or information sessions.
“It will definitely come up quick so we’re trying to get on to it right now,” Fittler said.
“We’re working on a time to get together because it’s been part of the system for a long time so I’m hoping that doesn’t change.”
Venues are yet to be confirmed but the NRL has indicated one game could be played in Melbourne with the other two for Sydney and Brisbane.