Fit­tler brings in Gasnier to tu­tor back­line rook­ies

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NRL - MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

FOR­MER NSW great Mark Gasnier was drafted into the Blues camp by coach Brad Fit­tler in a bid to quell the nerves of NSW’s rookie back­line.

Gasnier was called in on Wed­nes­day night to de­liver a se­cret talk to the debu­tant out­side backs in Josh Addo-Carr, La­trell Mitchell, Tom Tr­bo­je­vic and James Roberts, to help the quar­tet pre­pare for what is to come in their Ori­gin de­buts.

The rook­ies lis­tened as Gasnier, who was the game’s best cen­tre dur­ing the 2000s when he played 12 games for the Blues, gave them an insight into ar­eas he said took him “eight or nine years to learn”.

“I spoke to them about not over com­pli­cat­ing things and some things that helped me in my ca­reer, that I wish I learnt a lot ear­lier,” Gasnier said.

“Key lit­tle ar­eas I thought may im­prove their de­ci­sion­mak­ing. I em­pha­sised the point that they were by no means bad de­fend­ers or mak­ing bad de­ci­sions, but they weren’t be­ing the best de­fend­ers they can be.

“They were mak­ing the mis­takes that I made. I was a poor de­fender when I first started and got into a lot of bad habits. If I’d learnt more ear­lier I would’ve got bet­ter quicker.”

Mitchell said he learnt plenty from the half-hour talk.

“He spoke to me about my move­ments in de­fence,” he said.

“Early move­ments, get­ting set and get­ting up and be­ing ag­gres­sive. For him to come in and say what he said gave me a lot of con­fi­dence.”

Gasnier wanted Mitchell and Roberts picked as the Blues cen­tres. It will be the first time NSW have fielded a de­but cen­tre pair­ing since Gasnier played along­side Dragons team­mate Matt Cooper in what would be Fit­tler’s fi­nal Ori­gin game in 2004.

“I love them,” Gasnier said. “I still don’t think they’ve ful­filled their po­ten­tial. It’s the start of some­thing ex­cit­ing for them.”

Pic­ture: Brett Costello

Tom Tr­bo­je­vic at Blues train­ing in Coogee, and (in­set) Mark Gasnier in Ori­gin ac­tion in 2008.

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