NSW Blues, Brad Fitler, Phil Gold, Jack Whitton, Cotoni Stags, Brian Toe,

Phil Gold identifies the center-wing pairing as a lip on the blues backline near the State of Origin opener, “an area that could explode in New South Wales.”

With Gold Crystal-Bold Cottony Stags joining Daniel Tupau and Brian Too at Jack Whitton at Stadium Australia on Wednesday night, the greatest NSW coach in Origin history has shown little confidence in their chemistry.

“I am concerned about the center and winger playing together and the lack of coordination on their defensive side: Cotoni Stags in his debut, possibly alongside Daniel Tupo and Brian Toe with Jack Whitton on the left,” he told Gold Nine’s. 100% feet.

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“They haven’t played football together, those blocks, and if Queensland can push the ball wide out, they will have to make some really big decisions to defend at crucial times during the game.

“Once you get to work with Kalin Ponga (Cameron) Munster and Daley Cherry-Evans, they can certainly be a huge threat to you, and like Valentine Holmes and Dan Gaggai can be very threatening at that end.”

NSW coach Brad Fitler was forced to open the new center due to a hamstring blow from Lateral Mitchell and a shoulder injury from Tom Trobozevic.

By naming Stephen Crichton at the center, he could have already strengthened the Panther-leading run-on, but he instead rewarded the Broncos Beast Stags and Raider Weapon Witton. Clint Gutherson and Whitton were the center of Fitler in the 2020 series.

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“I’m a little worried about the defensive experience of playing with Daniel Tuppo in Cotoni Stags and Brian Too in Jack Whitton,” Gold said.

“I think it’s an area that Queensland can express. With time and space they have to win the battle between them to get the ball to the edge, but it’s probably an area where the NSW could explode at a crucial stage. The game.”

Although Gold questioned the Stags’ ability to defend, he identified the 23-year-old as a deadly member of the Fitler attack.

“My view at Origin is that you usually need people who can’t force linebreaks or miss tackles out of anything separately. It’s not necessarily a structure or a game that will get you out of the backfield,” Gold said.

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“Lateral Mitchell and things like that – they can make things happen on their own.

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“There’s not much of it in the NSW Forward Pack. There aren’t a lot of fliers who are able to push through a lot of hoaxes or tackles or look for one-armed offloads that have been around in recent years. They have attack limits. We don’t have too many linebreakers. Cotoni Stags can do it on his own, but we don’t have many real linebreakers in our team.

“They have to be fine with passes and structures – and that can be a bit dangerous in original football.”

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