How sly switch led to Blues’ hat-trick heroics
Tom Trbojevic insists he wasn't lost in Perth, despite bobbing up all over the field to score a hat-trick in Origin II.
Considered a risky selection in the centres for State of Origin II, Trbojevic spent a lot of time in the middle for NSW in their 38-6 rout of Queensland on Sunday.
And the surprise move paid off after Trbojevic claimed man-of-the-match honours with a hat-trick of tries in Perth.
All three came down the middle of Optus Stadium, far away from the unfamiliar left edge he was named to play after missing game one.
The Manly star later revealed that the coaching staff had discussed him spending plenty of time in-field as opposed to parking himself wide of the ruck.
"It was talked about. Freddie gave me licence to move around. I just saw a couple of opportunities and was lucky to get that pass," Trbojevic said.
His first try came when he intentionally came to the middle of the park to chase a James Maloney bomb that he soared over Kalyn Ponga.
His next two came from supporting James Tedesco on the inside, rather than the outside where a centre would've traditionally appeared.
It was the first Origin hat-trick by a NSW player since Matt King in 2005. He finished the game with a game-high five tackle busts, two offloads, 115 metres gained from 14 runs, and no missed tackles from 16 attempts.
"I was feeling a bit bored out there," Trbojevic said.
"Our middles were laying a really good platform and Teddy and (Damien Cook) were finding a lot of space through the middle so I just pushed up in the middle.
"And I was lucky enough to be on the end of a few passes."
Fittler credited Trbojevic's natural instincts for deciding when to go looking for the ball instead of remaining in his channel.
After missing game one with a hamstring injury, Trbojevic played two NRL games before being rushed back into the side in Perth.
"(Tom) told me Fergo was getting all the hit-ups, so he had to go and do something. That's basically what he told me," Fittler said.
"He's a pretty good player. He knows the game very well.
"He had a job to be our right centre (but) I think he's one of those blokes that knows when you're on top, and takes advantage of it. He didn't let us down."