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Brad Fittler insists it is unlikely he would be in charge of NSW if it wasn't for Blues newcomer Mitch Moses.
The pair will reunite in NSW camp, four years after they first linked when Fittler coached Lebanon at the World Cup.
Moses was one of the stars of the 2017 tournament, leading the Cedars to their first World Cup win over France and pushing Tonga in the quarter-finals.
Fittler was named as the coach of NSW a month later and has helped the Blues to three State of Origin series wins in four years.
"I'm always very grateful for the effort those boys put in because I have to say, without their effort, I'm not sure if I'm doing what I'm doing right now," Fittler said.
"I feel like I owe that team and those players a lot.
"So to be able to ring him and tell him he's got the opportunity to play for NSW, I was extremely grateful and I got a lot of confidence out of his response."
But Moses's selection as Nathan Cleary's injury replacement is more than just sentimental as NSW hunt a rare whitewash.
Fittler immediately believed Moses was made for Origin after that World Cup, and had him pencilled in for 2018 before his form fell away.
The 26-year-old has matured and Fittler has no concerns about his ability as a big-game player despite a poor finals record.
He also has Andrew Johns and Blues captain James Tedesco to lean on.
Johns is the halfback's consultant at Parramatta and Tedesco is a close friend and former Wests Tigers teammate.
Cleary will also have input into how the team plays, with the Blues trying to get him and injured five-eighth Jarome Luai into camp so they can lift the trophy.
And crucially, Fittler believes that with Jack Wighton shifting to five-eighth they can keep the same structure from the opening two games.
That in itself was critical in the pair's selection in the halves, given Fittler felt bringing in Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds would have created too much change.
Beyond all that, Fittler simply believes Moses is ready.
"During that World Cup I become pretty close with a lot of the blokes. It just seems like at the moment, everything's working for him," he said.
"His team's doing extremely well. And I feel like he's just now ready to go to their next step.
"This is happening at the right time."