Blues rookie Jacob Saifiti made a flying start to his Origin career after coming off the bench during a first-half masterclass in the decider at Suncorp Stadium.
Saifiti was a shock pick for Game 3 but more than repaid Brad Fittler’s faith and silenced the doubters with a superb performance in the top 40.
Saifiti had 78 yards, four tackle busts, a line break, a try and five tackles in a near perfect start to his Origin career.
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Saifiti came on in the 24th minute and produced a stunning opening sequence that culminated in a crucial first-half try.
Saifiti’s 32nd-minute try saw him bounce off the angle and score under the posts to give the Blues a handy 12-6 lead.
“Is there something cooking here?” You bet it is! Jacob Saifiti scores the try for NSW,” said Mat Thompson on Channel 9.
“His brother scored one in last year’s series and now he’s on the try scoresheets.”
Andrew Johns hailed the Blues super sub’s start to the game.
“What a start for Saifiti,” Johns said.
“Jacob Saifiti, we talked about the impact he has had since he entered the field, his first carry, exceptional. Now he finds himself on the list of scorers.
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“Api Koroisau is Api Koroisau’s job, the exact reason why Brad Fittler brought him to this football team.
“Just this subtle movement around the ruck, showing left, back to his right. Isolate the defender for the big man. Jacob Saifiti is a happy Blue.
In perfect timing, Blues coach Brad Fittler came on the cover of the coach’s box and was asked about Saifiti after the tryout.
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“NSW coach Brad Fittler, good time to come to you Brad. What a time for your first newbie rower,” Thompson told Fittler.
“He’s been outstanding,” Fittler said.
“I think he would have seen his first four or five runs and thought, ‘If I put this guy in a one-on-one situation, then that’s a good opportunity.
“It was, yes, good work from both of them.”
Social media exploded with pundits and pundits in awe of Saifiti’s debut.
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