Thursday 22 March 2018 / 02:02 AM


Brad Fittler’s State of Origin farewell in 2001 was totally overshadowed by the stunning return of Allan Langer for the decider, with the halfback great inspiring Queensland to a 40-14 thrashing of the Fittler-led NSW side.

‘Freddy’ retired from rep football at the end of that season, but a Blues halves injury crisis during the 2004 series saw long-time confidant Phil Gould send out a SOS to state’s appearances record-holder.

Fittler came back for game two – a 22-18 loss to the Maroons at Suncorp – but enjoyed the fitting send-off in the decider he had been denied three years earlier, starring in NSW’s comprehensive 36-14 triumph.

The 32-year-old sealed the result by charging down a kick from opposite number, Darren Lockyer, and running away untouched to score the final try of the night in front of an adoring Sydney crowd.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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