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‘It comes from a good place’: Keary takes Joey’s sacking call in stride

Keary, who has previously worked with Johns when the latter was a halves coach at the Roosters, only became aware of the comments on Thursday afternoon.

“That’s what he’s paid for, to give his opinion,” Keary said. “I know it comes from a good place with him too, he cares about his team, his state and his footy. I don’t take it personally at all, with Joey it comes from a good place.”

Luke Keary came under criticism for failing to control the game in the second half.

Luke Keary came under criticism for failing to control the game in the second half.Credit:Getty

Asked if the critique was hurtful given their previous working relationship, Keary said: “I only just found out. No, honestly, I don’t take it personally at all.

“That’s footy, that’s Origin, it comes from a good place with him. “It is what it is. It’s about the team winning, it’s not about individuals wanting to get games or things like that.”

Fittler’s decision to include both Keary and Walker in his 17 raised eyebrows given it was unclear how the latter would be used. However, Fittler defended the decision.

“It worked good,” he said. “I think we got it right. I’m very comfortable with the team we chose. Everyone is disappointed obviously that it didn’t happen on the night, but we got beat in game one last year.

“We actually played better yesterday, we were in a better position than we were last year. We’re quite comfortable, we’re on our home ground. I’m looking forward to it.”

Fittler revealed that he intended to inject Walker into the fray in the opening half, but a series-ending hamstring injury to Cameron Murray, coupled with Boyd Cordner’s head knock, prevented that from happening.

“[Walker] came on because we needed points,” Fittler said. “There was maybe an opportunity earlier in the back end of the first half, which we looked at to bring him on. It would have been interesting if we did that when we got to 10-0 up, but that didn’t happen.

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“I think that was when Cam Murray got hurt, we were thinking of doing that. We had Boyd off at the same time I think, we lost that opportunity and only found it late in the game.

“At the end of the day we finished just off their line and he got us a try, created a try and nearly created a couple of others. I thought the plan worked pretty good.”

Fittler said he would address the lack of pressure the Blues kickers put on Queensland’s back three, who were all on debut.

“We didn’t use the wind at all, we didn’t use the conditions at all,” he said. “We did nothing, we didn’t test them at all. That was so disappointing.”

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