Brad Fittler is the obvious choice to coach the NSW Blues

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Brad Fittler must be a slam dunk selection to be the next NSW Origin coach.

    There won’t be any decision until Dr George Peponis, the president of the NSWRL returns from overseas, and then the decision will be a priority.

    I’ll never forget the first time I saw Bard Fittler play as a schoolboy in a Penrith under age team.

    He was dynamic as he toyed with his opposition with a smile and the exuberance of a teenager, but with the football maturity of a seasoned veteran.

    He proved that very quickly, becoming the first to play for the Australian Schoolboys in 1989, and being selected the next season for NSW Origin and the Kangaroos.

    He was, and still is, the youngest NSW Origin rep at 18 years and 114 days, and at the time was the youngest Kangaroo at 18 years and 247 days.

    The latter record was firstly broken by Israel Folau at 18 years 194 days in 2007, and since by Sione Mata’utia at 18 years 129 days in 2014.

    But where Fittler is such a perfect fit for the NSW coaching job was his brilliance and success as an Origin rep, and his longevity.

    He’s played more Origins for NSW than any other player with 31, and captained the team more with 17.

    And during that stellar career, NSW won six Origin series.

    And the coach was none other than Phil Gould, and he must be included in the Fittler team as a consultant.

    Fittler must not only be the sole coach, but the sole selector.

    There’s nothing worse than the head coach being overruled by two other selectors, when it’s the coach who gets the chop if the team fails.

    There’s another plus for Fittler as he’s shown in his television interviews.

    He always asks short but to the point questions, and then does what very few interviewers do these days, he listens to the answers without interruption.

    I have no doubt he’ll be exactly the same with his NSW squad, his directions will be short and concise, and all his squad will have no doubts whatsoever of what Fittler wants.

    But a sole coach and sole selector can get lonely, and that’s where Phil Gould would fill the bill superbly.

    He’s forgotten more about rugby league than most people will ever know and he’s a cool and calculating head under pressure, as he’s proved many times on television.

    The two of them have enjoyed a great rapport before, and will be the same, despite the years in between.

    So exciting times are ahead for NSW and when Fittler settles on his squad for the first Origin clash of 2018, it will be fascinating how he’ll slot in Nathan Cleary (now 19), Mitchell Moses (23 next Saturday), and Matt Moylan (26), the most switched on youngsters in the code, and the launching pad for an exciting new era.

    Bring it on.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (31)

    • September 14th 2017 @ 6:23am
      DLKN said | September 14th 2017 @ 6:23am | ! Report

      Fittler, once referred to by a police officer as the ‘drunkest human ever’, might struggle to fit Michael Morgan in his squad.

      Because Morgan has already played several matches for Queensland.

    • September 14th 2017 @ 6:34am
      Christo the Daddyo said | September 14th 2017 @ 6:34am | ! Report

      So David writes an article that Fittler should be a “slam dunk” choice as coach, but produces zero examples of Fittler’s coaching examples in evidence.

      And then bizarrely starts talking about Gould! No actual title for Gould of course, or specific role description. He just seems to be thrown in because Fittler might get “lonely”.

      • Roar Guru

        September 14th 2017 @ 9:10am
        Nat said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        Mate, if you’re not aware of what Fitler has achieved as coach you don’t really follow rugby league do you? Aside from a fill-in role with the chooks he has achieved a bit in City and Junior rep squads. Gould has also mentioned plenty of times his willingness to associate himself with Freddie should he get the gig.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 10:29am
          Christo the Daddyo said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          Can you remind me of his achievements that are apparently so good he’s worthy of being chosen as the coach of the NSW Origin side?

          I really hope it’s something other than his mediocre and short-lived time running the Roosters and a bit of junior coaching…

          And to my point – Lord doesn’t actually provide any COACHING reasons for appointing Fittler. He blathers on about how good he was as a player – which is pretty close to being irrelevant as far as coaching goes. Standard David Lord article really…

          • Roar Guru

            September 15th 2017 @ 11:47am
            Nat said | September 15th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

            I don’t disagree with you and have a similar opinion of the author. If NSWRL stick with the ‘no NRL coaches’ policy what Fitler has achieved with his City team, who were getting regularly beat by Country. He has had success with Junior Rep sides. While not at the same level it’s far above park footy because it is getting the best from elite players. Also listening to those around him, his assistants and players, they all have a very high regard for him. His NRL experience was adhoc but they lifted to beat some very good teams under his guidance. That said, he, like Meninga, needs Gould and other tacticians around him that command respect while developing and executing a game plan. His media persona is our most recent reference but remember as a player he was a leader of men in arguably NSW’s best period.

    • Roar Guru

      September 14th 2017 @ 6:36am
      The Barry said | September 14th 2017 @ 6:36am | ! Report

      Fittler is far from an obvious choice.

      Great player for sure. But he’s had one short unsuccessful stint as a coach.

      He’s not particularly insightful about the game as a commentator – his most interesting contributions tend to be about how long they’ve cut the grass.

      He’s borderline inarticulate, so even if he has great ideas he struggles to get them across. His party boy reputation is the last thing NSW needs right now.

      Surely this year, where NSW were outplayed, outsmarted and outcoached show that NSW need an experienced coach? The theory that they just need someone to fill them full of p1ss for two days and then show them where to get on the bus is a myth.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 14th 2017 @ 8:15am
        Hard Yards said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:15am | ! Report

        I just don’t think he has the maturity to handle a position of responsibility.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 12:16pm
          Tim said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

          Stranger things have happened in rugby league. Trent Robinson – played 4 first grade games before succumbing to injury. Now, coach accolades as long as your arm. Fittler has coached but hindsight a wonderful thing. Commentary too, adds to his scope of who to pick & how to play the Qld behemoth that awaits next year.

    • September 14th 2017 @ 7:15am
      R N said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:15am | ! Report

      Hi David not sure about this one…
      Apart from being coached by great coaches Fittler lacks quality coaching background. Just because he sat in class with some great teachers doesn’t necessary make him a great teacher!
      As stated above there may be some real problems in regards to Morgan’s selection also, fascinating though!

    • September 14th 2017 @ 7:50am
      kobi said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      Yeah go ahead appoint Fittler & guarantee QLD dominence next 5 years that makes me happy.

    • September 14th 2017 @ 8:07am
      Chook said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      So the venerable Bard Fittler is in like Flymn is he? I won’t say he is an idiot but he most definately doesnt inspire confidence. I wonder if Hagan is available?

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