FREDDY’S SECRET CALL TO MALONEY
Freddy tells Maloney to fix his defence
BLUES coach Brad Fittler phoned Penrith Panthers five-eighth James Maloney to express concerns about his position in the NSW State of Origin team because of 63 missed tackles this season.
Fittler spoke to the two-time premiership-winning playmaker in the lead-up to Thursday night’s game against Wests Tigers, in which he improved and missed only one tackle.
“I raised my concerns with him,” Fittler said. “For his experience, I thought he could be doing better for Penrith. That’s why I rang. I’ve still got a lot of love for the Panthers.
“I said to him, ‘it’s about working with the teammates around you’. I was watching him come out of the line and they seemed to pick him off pretty easy.”
Despite reports to the contrary, Fittler insists he still has no idea who will be the NSW halves.
“I honestly haven’t picked them,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you with any confidence.”
Fittler’s senior adviser, Greg Alexander, makes no secret of the fact that Maloney is his favourite NRL player. Fittler said he is also a huge fan. “Courage has never been Jimmy’s problem,” Fittler said. “No doubt about that.
“I’m not sure about the Wests Tigers game because they didn’t throw that much at them. He didn’t have to make a decision.
“He’s been fantastic for Penrith but they’ve had the easiest draw by far. They’ve had Parramatta twice, Canterbury twice and the Cowboys twice.
“Next week is the big one. Penrith against the Dragons.
“It’s set up beautifully for me, as long as they don’t hurt each other.
“They’re the best two Sydney teams.”