Brad Fittler is the obvious choice to coach the NSW Blues

David Lord Columnist

By , 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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