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Phil Gould reveals NSW Blues locker room quiet before Game 3 loss to Queensland Maroons, Brad Fittler nerves


Legendary former Blues coach Phil Gould has revealed how a pre-game visit into the New South Wales dressing room gave him an “eerie” feeling before the Origin decider.

Despite being overwhelming favourites coming into game three, the Blues were once again unable to win a decider at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, extending a drought that has now lasted 17 years.

Gould opened up on his visit to the Blues sheds and his conversation with NSW coach Brad Fittler, who he noted was quite nervous pre-match.

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“When I walked into the dressing room, it was eerily quiet, it was really quiet,” he told Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast.

“I even mentioned it, I said, ‘It’s very quiet down here’, and he (Fittler) said, ‘Yeah’. Brad was quiet.

“Obviously there’s a lot of pressure that comes up and grabs you by the throat and it’s a tough environment. You’ve just got to be prepared for whatever comes your way.”

Gould admitted that the pressure of the occasion was written all over both Fittler and Maroons coach Billy Slater‘s faces.

“It’s a high pressure job. It really is,” he said.

“It’s beaten the best of them over the years. I mean, they’ll all tell you what it does emotionally to you.

“The emotional drain that it takes on you, they say players have post Origin hangover, coaches do too.

“It’s totally absorbing. The whole build-up to it, the pressure of it, the selections, the training, the strategy, the games themselves. It really does wear you out.

“For Billy and Brad (on Wednesday night) and even watching them during the game a couple of times we crossed to them (during the broadcast) and you could see the intensity of it and you sort of relive those feelings that you had, but it was visible for them.

“That’s the environment they wanted to put themselves into. There can only be one winner.

“Billy will be on cloud nine today and Brad will feel like the world’s coming to an end and that he’s got to bounce out of that and go again.

“He’s done a great job for New South Wales. He’s brought on a lot of good young players and it’s still a young New South Wales side.”

Despite being a passionate Blues man, Gould admitted that a Queensland series win made it “a great night for our game”.

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“Let me tell you this … and this is coming from a staunch New South Wales person and it’s never bad when Queensland wins,” he said.

“It’s always good for our game when Queensland is doing well. It was a great night for Queensland. That was a great night for rugby league and trust me, trust me, it’s never bad for rugby league when Queensland wins.”

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