Fittler to coach NSW: are you having a laugh?
Former NSW State of Origin player Brad Fittler (Image: AAP)
With incumbent Blues coach Ricky Stuart due to sip his arvo beers from Parramatta’s poisoned chalice, the NSWRL is forced yet again to the cupboard to scrounge in its dusty corners for a new Origin coach.
There is no easy answer to their situation, except to say if they value their sanity, they must choose anyone but Brad Fittler.
For a while now it has been pretty clear that the mob of triceratopses at the NSWRL have been grooming Fittler and his speedier Super League equivalent Laurie Daley for the NSW coaching role.
Every series you will see the wingman team of Freddy and Loz hanging around the greater NSW entourage like a pair of excited Labradors. Maybe they’re coaching the city versus country matches trying to look serious in their spray jackets.
Maybe they’re throwing air dummies at training while their protégé nods distractedly. Maybe they’re laughing too loudly at Blocker’s stupid jokes in inner city hotel bonding sessions while the bar staff look on nervously.
Whatever the case, it’s clear that Geoff Carr would love nothing more than to have one of the Blue Boy Wonders rise to the ranks of super coach, pull up the side by its bootstraps, and have them hurtle headlong to a heroic victory.
Unfortunately though, after some lukewarm coaching stints, the dynamic duo were content to settle into cushy media gigs. This means we arrived at a bizarre Billy Madison scenario where Papa Carr threw his hands in the air, poured himself a double scotch, and got on the blower to someone he knows won’t see half his backline miss the opening match with alcohol poisoning.
All of a sudden, though, Fittler seems to have had an epiphany during Funniest Home Videos, realised that his relevance clock might be ticking away, and put up his hand to take over the side.
It should be commended, then politely laughed off.
Choosing Fittler for the NSW head coaching position would be like introducing a puppy to a classroom of hyperactive juvenile delinquents during an excursion to the chocolate and fireworks factory.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Brad Fittler. Legend. As a player he did it all, did it with style, and did it with an attitude that would make Michelangelo from the Ninja Turtles seem tightly wound.
And as a coach… well… there was never a dull moment was there?
But it has been as a commentator that the self-proclaimed former Drunkest Man Alive has really shone.
Fittler’s television presence provides all the fun of having the lovable oaf ex-footy player in your living room putting his feet up on the furniture, spilling crumbs everywhere, and guffawing in a way that makes you laugh too.
Unlike other members of the commentary team desperately trying not to make geese of themselves, Freddy instead revels in his inexperience, happily spewing out whatever story, nonsensical insight or weird grunting noise pops into his oversized head.
Then there’s the stories of him working on game day, passing balls back and forth with kids on the hill, or missing his live cross because he’s reading the joke section of a Zoo mag.
It is for all these reasons then that I sincerely hope the NSWRL bigwigs take one look at Fittler’s crayon-scrawled and tomato-sauce-stained application, thank him kindly for his effort, and duly assign him to the position of Director for Community Coaching Consultation or Head Bee Guarder or some other such role.
Origin coaching, as Ricky and Mal’s constant glowering at the press has shown, is indeed a serious business. I’d really hate to see the funniest man in rugby league caught up in it.
Follow Chris on Twitter: @Vic_Arious
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar since 2011. Tweet him @Vic_Arious
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