Sport Fifita sets sights on Origin series win

13:26  19 may  2017
13:26  19 may  2017 Source:   MSN

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  Maroons face uncharted Origin waters Queensland will head into the Origin series opener without two men who've misses two combined matches in the last 22 fixtures. And then there's the doubts over Johnathan Thurston.Collectively, the Queensland trio have missed just two of the last 22 Origin matches in a period stretching back to when Scott returned to the side permanently for game three of the 2009 series.

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A NSW State of Origin series win and not a maiden Blues' starting jersey is driving Andrew Fifita ahead of this month's opening game.

Fifita has never started for NSW in his seven outings, coming off the bench in each of his appearances in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

He also missed the Blues' only victorious series in the past decade, sitting out 2014 with ankle and wrist injuries.

The 27-year-old is considered a certainty to be named in the NSW team on Monday.

But it's unclear whether he or David Klemmer will join Aaron Woods in the starting front row on May 31 at Suncorp.

Yet Fifita insists he's not fussed what number is on his back, as long as he holds up the Shield at the end of the series.

"I just want to be in the team," he said.

"I've never won Origin before and I really want to be a part of it.

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"The last thing on my bucket list is to win an Origin. I've done everything else in the game that is possible.

"I just want to win Origin. I just want that chance to prove it. If I start, I start."

Andrew Fifita of the Sharks © Getty Images Andrew Fifita of the Sharks Fifita will enter the Origin arena in top form after making his return for Australia a fortnight ago.

He started for the Kangaroos in their 30-12 win over New Zealand earlier this month, and was Australia's most destructive forward with five tackle busts.

He then returned to Cronulla with back-to-back games of more than 150m, including his effort against North Queensland where he was the Sharks' best in their 18-14 win and produced the match-turning offload for a Chad Townsend try.

And after being excluded from last year's Four Nations squad for off-field matters, Fifita is now a man on a representative mission.

"I won't take any jersey for granted," he said.

Meninga wants Boyd not Slater for Maroons

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"I've felt the Aussie jersey get taken away from me, I've had my Origin jersey get taken away from me before.

"I just know how much it means to me."

Fifita maintains he is a different player to the one who debuted for NSW in 2013.

While his ability to offload and fend sets him apart, former Blues captain, and his club skipper, Paul Gallen said Fifita played at his best when he simplified his game.

And Fifita believes he found middle ground.

"I was a bit raw in my younger days," he said.

"I'm getting older now and a bit wiser. My game is simple, just run hard and try and break the defence.

"But if you need me to do that kind of stuff, I've got it in my back pocket."

State of Origin: NSW coach Laurie Daley praises Mitchell Pearce ahead of Origin I team listing .
New South Wales coach Laurie Daley says he will wait until after this weekend's round 11 of the NRL season before finalising his team for State of Origin Game One against Queensland. However Sydney Roosters half-back Mitchell Pearce and Gold Coast Titans' Jarryd Hayne look like they could return to the Blues line-up to face the Maroons at Lang Park.Pearce missed last year's Origin series after serving a suspension over drunken misbehaviour — but Daley says he has redeemed himself.The Roosters are third on the ladder in 2017 and Pearce has been at the forefront of their rebound from their second-last placing in 2016.

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