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Bring Cam Smith back for Origin: Fittler

por Imogene Ontiveros (2020-10-19)

Relishing the chance to go head to head with Wayne Bennett, NSW coach Brad Fittler says he'd love it if Cameron Smith also made a State of Origin swan song for Queensland next month.

"I think it would be fantastic," Fittler said on Monday before his Blues squad set off for camp on the Central Coast.

In theory, the notion of 37-year-old Smith returning to the Origin cauldron three years after retiring from representative rugby league would seem far-fetched.

In reality, ??????? it could be provide the game's most accomplished player with a dream send-off should Smith captain Melbourne to grand final glory over Penrith on Sunday night.

Why not scratch one last itch before riding off into the sunset, ????? potentially as a triple premiership winner and record 12 times State of Origin series victor?

Smith on Monday said he had no intention of wearing maroon again, insisting Queensland "were flush with (number) nines".

But he admitted the major reason he gave representative footy away was to manage his club workload - something that wouldn't factor into this year's unique end-of-season series.

Fittler concedes he has "no idea" if the depleted Maroons plan on trying to lure Smith back for one last hurrah, ?????? or for that matter if they're working behind the scenes to entice fellow Queensland legend Greg Inglis out of Origin retirement.

"They can do what they want," Fittler said.

But the Blues mentor believes it would be great if they did, saying the return of Bennett with Mal Meninga as an assistant was already the boost the Maroons - and the series - needed.

"It's unreal," he said.

"I think it's fantastic and most probably something Queensland need at this stage, given their sides (Brisbane and Gold Coast) haven't done fantastic and when Wayne puts his hand up, there's normally a reaction.

"I definitely think he'll bring a depth to Origin, ?????? and ?????? Mal.

Their record is incredible so I can't wait."

Bennett and Meninga have featured in an incredible 20 Queensland series triumphs since Origin's inception in 1980.

Fittler hopes not to fall for any of Bennett's mind games but has little doubt the 70-year-old super-coach will have an impact on the Maroons.

"He's very good.
He's fantastic for the game and people love him or don't like him," Fittler said.

"I've always enjoyed his company and one thing I do know is his teams are always prepared.

"I'll be worried about his team. I don't have to play Wayne."

Asked if he felt shades of 1995 when Queensland, due to the Super League war, fielded a team of relative no names ambushed NSW 3-0 in the greatest series boilover in history, Fittler said: "Well, they're down on troops".

"I was there in '95. They did a fantastic job.

"So once again, their team was well prepared.

We'll be doing our best to prepare as well."