By STEVE MASCORD
JAMES Maloney says the endorsement of Brad Fittler as NSW Origin I five-eighth is no consolation for Country’s poor showing in what will probably be the second-last match ever against City.
Fittler, who represented the Blues 31 times, reckons Cronulla’s Maloney is the stand-out candidate to wear the six jersey on June 1 at ANZ Stadium.
But Maloney, 29, tells RLW: “I supposed it’s a nice endorsement to have but I said it leading into this game: my whole focus was to get a win.
“And I’m pretty down at the moment because it wasn’t the case. That’s what this week was all about.
“It was getting a win for Country and we didn’t do it.”
Speaking on radio Triple M at fulltime, Fittler – coach of victors City – said: “Right now at the present time, we’d have to say James Maloney at five-eighth.
“Early on, he had us in all sorts.
“The game got away and he most probably … I’m not sure how urgent he got personally but … the game got away and that wasn’t due to his fault.
“He’s most probably in the best form out of all of them.”
Fittler said halfback was a more vexed position because of the lack of in-form candidates. “I think Adam Reynolds is a fantastic player but the last couple of games, the kicking game, the backbone of his game, has been a bit down,” he said.
Because of a change in the NRL TV deal in 2018, City-Country has only one game to go for the foreseeable future and Country needed to win both remaining matches to draw level on the all-time ledger since the concept went Origin.
“I would have loved the (City-Country) game to stay. Hopefully there’s still room for it on some form.
“It means a lot to the country. I think the turnout here showed that and a lot of the boys enjoyed playing in the week. I know our boys had a ball this week.
“They had a lot of pride in the jumper and that’s why we’re all hurting now because we couldn’t get the result.”
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK