Brad Fittler and Billy Slater snub Aussie role over Origin duties

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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State of Origin coaches Billy Slater (pictured left) and Brad Fittler (pictured right) during a press conference.
State of Origin coaches Billy Slater (pictured left) and Brad Fittler (pictured right) have reportedly rejected the chance of being Australian selectors due to their Origin duties. (Getty Images)

Brad Fittler and Billy Slater have turned down selector roles for the Kangaroos squad after feeling a strong allegiance to their state after Origin.

Queensland coach Slater got the better of Fittler as the Maroons clinched the series in Game III at Suncorp Stadium last week.

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Game III was chaotic with a number of players ruled out due to concussion and Maroons centre Dane Gagai sparking a wild punch-up with NSW centre Matt Burton.

However, before a game was played in the 2022 State of Origin series, NRL head of Football Graham Annesley wrote to the coaches to announce they would be joint selectors for the Australian team.

They would replace NRL greats Laurie Daley and Darren Lockyer on the panel.

Australian Rugby League requested the World Cup squad announcement to be delayed from 22 June so selectors could focus in State of Origin.

However, The Sydney Morning Herald reported NRL boss Peter V'Landys said both had expressed a conflict of interest regarding the role.

Daley and Lockyer would be reinstated as selectors.

“From what I’m told, Billy and Freddy [Fittler] believe they’ve got a conflict of interest because if they don’t go in there and stick up for the players they’re coaching and they miss out, the perception might be they’re not loyal to them. I can understand and respect that,” V'Landys told the publication.

“They’re two legends of the game. I love Laurie, and one of the nicest people to me when I came into the game was Darren Lockyer, so you couldn’t ask for two better people. I respect both the views of Billy and Freddy. I can understand where they’re coming from and it’s no problem.”

Brad Fittler rages over State of Origin aftermath

Following Origin, Fittler was left angry over the fines handed to Maroons player Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.

Maroons forward Fa'asuamaleaui intervened and had Burton in a headlock when more players joined the fracas between Gagai and Burton.

Referee Ashley Klein sin-binned Burton and Gagai, but Fa'asuamaleaui was permitted to stay on the field.

The day after the game, Burton and Gagai were each fined 23 per cent of their match fee, following changes to the NRL's judiciary code this season aimed at minimising suspensions out of representative games.

However, Fa'asuamaleaui - who was also put on report for a high shot earlier in the match - only copped a fine that equated to seven percent of his match fee.

Speaking about it on Nine's Sunday Footy Show, Fittler said the match review committee's response to the controversy was "ridiculous" - particularly with regards to Fa'asuamaleaui's involvement.

"The problem I had with it was (NRL Head of Football) Graham Annesley had come out during the week and spoke how the third man in should be sin-binned," he said.

"Tino was the third man in and he could have done other things other than put (Burton) in a pretty aggressive head lock, and the way that got treated.

"Matt Burton got fined more than Tino. I find that absolutely ridiculous."

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