Brad Fittler development leaves NRL fans divided amid State of Origin debate

The NSW coach is reportedly set to be offered a one-year extension to remain in the job.

Brad Fittler.
Brad Fittler is reportedly set to be offered a one-year extension to stay on as NSW State of Origin coach. Image: Getty

Brad Fittler is reportedly set to be offered a one-year extension as NSW State of Origin coach, despite the NSWRL board insisting no decision has been made. Fittler has come under immense scrutiny in the wake of the Blues' second-straight series loss to Queensland, with many calling for a new coach to be brought in.

Fittler won three of the first four series he coached after taking over the job in 2018, but his record now stands at 3-3 after back-to-back losses. The 2023 series loss was particularly grating for fans considering Queensland wrapped up the victory after Game II, before NSW salvaged some pride by winning Game III.

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Amid calls for Fittler to be replaced, a number of leading journos reported on Thursday that the under-fire coach will be offered a one-year extension. Danny Weidler of Channel 9 reported that the NSWRL board insisted they haven't had any discussions around Fittler's future, but "a (one) year contract is the quiet tip."

Weidler tweeted: "Blues say board has had no discussions re Brad Fittler's future. He will present to them (on) August 25. After that it will be some time before a decision is made. Having said that, a (one) year contract is the quiet tip."

Brad Fittler in action as NSW State of Origin coach.
Brad Fittler looks on ahead of Game III of the State of Origin series. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

James Hooper of Fox Sports reported on Thursday: "The way it’s shaping-up Fittler will be offered a one-year extension which will make him the longest-serving NSW coach in State of Origin history by making it seven years at the helm. Freddy still needs to present a review of this year’s failed series to the NSW Rugby League board on August 25, with the Blues decision-makers in no rush to rubber stamp any announcements."

Discussing the situation earlier this week, NSW captain James Tedesco threw his full support behind Fittler. The Roosters star said the Blues' win in Game III showed Fittler is still the man for the job.

"It showed how good we can be when we stick to our plan and play how we want," he said, adding he was "supportive for sure" of Fittler. "I've played my best Origin footy under him. He's brought some pride back into the jersey. He brought that back. It was in a dark place."

Does Brad Fittler want to stay on as NSW coach?

But whether or not Fittler still wants the job remains to be seen. Speaking immediately after Game III, the 51-year-old said: "It is not about if I want to do it or not, it's about what is best for the team. The NSW board needs to sit down and work out who is the best person for the job.

"If they think it's me they need to approach me and if they think it's somebody else they need to approach them and do that. But when that happens, I need to think about if I'm the best person for the job.

"The last couple of series have been pretty gruelling and I think me being there adds pressure to the team as well. I also need to take that into consideration.

"There are some decent decisions that need to be made. At the end of the day it is all about who is the best person for the job and they then have to go and find that person."

The news of Fittler reportedly being offered a one-year extension left fans heavily divided. While some threw their support being the coach, others were left fuming.

Popular Twitter account 'The Oracle' wrote: "I cannot believe that the board offered Brad Fittler another 12 months as NSW coach. I’m equally surprised that Freddy didn’t stand down.

"He’s lost 3 of the past 4 series, each time as the overwhelming favourite. His tactics and selections when series were alive have been atrocious. Had a feeling if NSW avoided a 3-0 sweep, he’d survive."

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