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Call it complacency or whatever you like, the lesson the Blues were taught in 2020 is yet to sink in

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It’s something Brad Fittler has said several times before – New South Wales, historically, doesn’t deal with favouritism all that well.

This has been true for many years, even during Fittler’s own tenure as Blues coach. For all it’s glory and victories, even Fittler’s Blues don’t look comfortable when they’re sitting on top of the world.

Call it complacency or whatever you like, but it’s a lesson they should have learned in 2020, when they were beaten by the so-called worst Queensland team ever – two years later, it seems as though it’s a truth that’s yet to really sink in.

There was no smoking gun for New South Wales’s 16-10 loss to Queensland on Wednesday night. No magic moment on which the entire match turned, no hinge on which everything swung.

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Kotoni Staggs sits on the bench after appearing to injure his shoulder.(Getty Images: Mark Kolbe)

It just kind of happened.

The Blues looked good, until they didn’t, and the game was theirs, until it wasn’t

Stadium Australia doesn’t burn with the white-hot fury of Lang Park, it’s an arena which can feel colder and crueller, and when defeat for the Blues is in the air there’s less panic and more of a strange pall that falls over the ground. The crowd did not expect this. They did not know how to deal with it.

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