State of Origin news | Mitchell Moses, Jack Wighton defended by Brad Fittler after loss in game three

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Mitchell Moses and Jack Wighton had a tough act to follow in Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai, but NSW coach Brad Fittler rated their Origin III performance “great”.

Moses was on debut at halfback and Wighton was playing his first game as NSW five-eighth. While they may not have delivered victory, and had a clunky pairing at times, they both had good moments and left Fittler satisfied.

He stood by his call not to play South Sydney pair Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker, who would have offered an established partnership in the absence of injured Penrith pair Cleary and Luai.

“No, I thought Mitchell Moses had the kick for the [Api Koroisau] try,” Fittler said, when asked if the Rabbitohs halves may have fared better.

“Jack Wighton scored a try. So I’m not sure where your argument is.

“I thought they were great. I was really happy with Mitchell Moses; I thought his defence was fantastic. They threw a lot at him.

“At the end of the day, I don’t know what the [possession] line was, but a lot of it was in defence, a lot of it was under fatigue.

“A lot of Mitchell’s defence was outstanding, and Jack Wighton’s. There’s always two sides to a game.

“It was hard to tell who stood out for us tonight, there were a lot of blokes working hard. The game was fast.”

Despite the solid pass mark from Fittler, Moses is likely to be stuck as a back-up No.7 into the future, with Cleary locked in as Blues halfback.

Wighton was promoted from the bench utility role to replace the injured Luai. He linked nicely with Moses for his try early in the second half.

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