Blues won't hide from Origin spotlight

New South Wales players in camp prior to State of Origin I. Photo: Getty Images
New South Wales players in camp prior to State of Origin I. Photo: Getty Images
New South Wales State of Origin players are embracing a big-city approach after coach Brad Fittler told them they can't shy away from the spotlight anymore.

The Blues have returned to their traditional beachside base of Coogee for the first time since 2013 this year after spending the majority of the past of the past five years on the road.

It's landed them squarely in the middle of a city desperately hoping 11 rookies can end 12 years of misery across the state, given the team has lifted the shield just once since 2005.

"Freddy spoke about it yesterday. We've been out of the media and out of the spotlight over the past couple of years and we haven't delivered as a team," debutant Angus Crichton said.

"I think it's good we are interacting like this. I think it's the way it should be done."

This week's camp marks the first for an away game in Sydney since Laurie Daley took the team to Coffs Harbour in 2014, while the only other Sydney camp controversially came within the confines of The Star last year for the home fixture.

New South Wales have also adopted a more open approach this year under Fittler.

Media and fans have been able to watch their training sessions in full, while all players have been available to speak after each training run.

The new-look team has also returned to community-based activities, with the squad turning out at the Woolloomooloo PCYC on Tuesday night for a barbecue with local youths.

The venue is the same one Fittler has regularly had City Origin teams visit in the past, as part of an approach that drives home a message to players of who they are representing.

"You have that idea before you even come into camp. It's been a big hype-up every year, I don't think that will ever change," Crichton said.

"But coming in and see the turn-up now it certainly reinforces it. It's unreal to do."

Blues players will spend the entire week in Sydney after arriving on Monday morning, and have already taken in a True Blues dinner and harbour cruise to go Tuesday's barbecue.

But Fittler said the only way to keep the support up would be putting an end to the state's pain.

"To keep getting this turnout we have to win," Fitter told a packed crowd of ex-players at Monday night's dinner at The Star.

"There's no doubt about that. All the players have spoken about that already. For the crowds and people to keep turning up.

"The players need to understand a lot of people sit at home and they get inspired by great achievements and great play and great teamwork."

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