Inside info on surface a boost for Blues

Scott Bailey
·2-min read

Brad Fittler's obsession with how the ANZ Stadium playing surface is prepared could hold the key to a NSW win in State of Origin II.

Because of less dew and shorter grass, chief curator Graeme Logan is adamant the game will be played on a ground that will be the "fastest" in his 21-year tenure at the stadium.

"It's firm, it will be a dry track," Logan said.

"A lower height of cut so there will be less grass under the feet so they get good traction.

"And there won't be as much dew as you get in the middle of winter."

An amateur horticulturalist, Fittler remains the only coach to regularly quiz Logan on the stadium's playing conditions.

Their last proper catch-up was on grand final day and another is expected before State of Origin kick-off on Wednesday night.

"He likes to understand the turf, how it grows, what have you fed it with, what's the height of cut, do you think there will be any moisture," Logan said.

"Whereas a lot of coaches, I guess the ground is the ground and it's the same for both teams."

Their bond began several years ago in Fittler's capacity as Nine's sideline commentator, when Logan grew sick of criticism of the ground.

"I fronted him a because he and Joey Johns, they'll make a throwaway comment about it being a boghole," Logan told AAP.

That encounter is still paying off, with NSW yet to lose at ANZ Stadium under Fittler.

Fittler will come armed with the knowledge the stadium's rye grass will be cut to 20mm, around 8mm shorter than it would be if the match was held in a traditional mid-year timeslot.

A crowd similar to the grand final figure of 37,303 is expected on Wednesday night.

COVID-19 also hasn't killed off Blatchy's Blues, with one end of the stadium to still be filled with the blue-wigged diehards.

But it could be on the turf where NSW have the real advantage.