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Brad Fittler's 'insulting' Clint Gutherson ploy enrages Blues fans

The Blues coach once again left fans scratching their heads in Game III.

Clint Gutherson sitting on the bench and Brad Fittler embracing Billy Slater.
Blues fans were left baffled at Brad Fittler's (pictured right) use of utility Clint Gutherson (pictured left) who only came on for three minutes against the Maroons. (Getty Images)

New South Wales fans have been once again left baffled at Brad Fittler's bench rotation with Eels star Clint Gutherson spending 76 minutes on the sideline. The Blues were able to stop the first clean sweep in a series in 13 years having defeated the Maroons 24-10 in Sydney.

Cody Walker was dubbed the "the best player on the field", by Cameron Smith, and was rewarded with the player-of-the-match award. It was too late for the Blues who had been out-fought in Game I and outplayed in Game II.

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Fittler got his team selection right in Game III with Damien Cook, Cody Walker, Liam Martin and Cameron Murray all in the starting side and delivered the team extra energy from the get-go. However, Fittler still baffled fans when he opted to leave Gutherson on the bench for all but three minutes of the game.

It isn't the first time Fittler has made a bizarre decision with his bench this series. Nicho Hynes was used at centre for the final 10 minutes of Game I, but was dropped afterwards with the halfback not getting a chance to prove himself.

In Game II, Fittler selected Cook as the back-up No.9. Cook was needed at centre because of an injury, which saw the Blues' game plan go out the window. Furthermore, Stefano Utoikamanu was used for 12 minutes in his debut off the bench.

Before Game III, Fittler compensated and selected Gutherson as the utility alongside No.9 back-up Reece Robson. This means the Blues only carried two forwards into Game III.

Brad Fittler walks after losing State of Origin.
Brad Fittler (pictured) left fans baffled once again having only used Clint Gutherson for three minutes in Game III of Origin. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images) (Brendon Thorne via Getty Images)

And the Blues dominated with the faster play the ball a huge factor in the victory. Despite this, fans were still left divided over the use of Gutherson.

Many felt a player, such as Gutherson, is a waste sitting on the bench and coming on in the 76th minute for Josh Addo-Carr in the Origin arena. The Eels fullback received a warm welcome rom the crowd and touched the ball twice in his short time on the field.

Brad Fittler praise Cody Walker's influence

Fittler would have been very unlikely to keep his position as Blues coach if the Maroons achieved the first series clean sweep in 13 years. However, fans will now wait to see if Fittler gets another chance at redemption next year.

Questions will remain over a number of positions in the Blues team. James Tedesco's reign as captain and fullback will be looked at after another series loss and around the halves roles could see a change. Regardless, Fittler was full of praise for Rabbitohs star Walker for his contribution in Game III. "Cody made a massive difference and he came up with some really nice passes," Fittler said.

"We had a plan and stuck to it and other than a try at the start we got urgent in the second half. It shows how hard it is to win three games."

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