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Maloney's return sparks Blues' game 2 revival but job's only half done

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23.06.2019

All week, the hand grenades from the east coast kept coming in, headed straight for Brad Fittler’s smiling head. Some were justified, most were not.

Australian coach Mal Meninga questioned the sacking of NSW centre Latrell Mitchell. Would never happen in Queensland, he said. Former Maroons captain Cameron Smith mused that five days wasn’t enough preparation for a Blues team featuring seven changes with players out of position.

Blues celebrate after streaking to victory over Queensland.Credit:NRL Photos

On it went. Timana Tahu – ridiculously – played the race card to explain why Mitchell and Cody Walker were dumped.

Then came the scud missile calling for Fittler to be sacked if the Blues lost this match and series, despite having a year to run on his contract. Incoming!

Fittler and his Blues silenced the critics, for now, with a thudding 38-6 victory over Queensland before a record crowd of 59,721 fans at Perth’s Optus Stadium – a result that forces the series to a decider at home in Sydney on July 10.

It was a great result, sure, but there should be no chest-beating just yet. And not just because the series is still alive.

Replay

Veteran five-eighth James Maloney, who delivered this result on a........

© Brisbane Times