Brad Fittler ripped over Josh Addo-Carr comment after World Cup heroics

Brad Fittler, pictured here alongside Josh Addo-Carr.
Brad Fittler overlooked Josh Addo-Carr for NSW selection. Image: Getty

Brad Fittler has copped the wrath of rugby league fans after admitting that Josh Addo-Carr has rocketed back into State of Origin contention with his phenomenal display at the World Cup. Fittler infamously overlooked the star winger for this year's Origin series, preferring Daniel Tupou on the flank for NSW.

But that called backfired brutally as NSW went down 2-1 to Queensland and Tupou producing an unflattering performance in the series decider. All Addo-Carr has done since being snubbed is score tries - and that trend continued at the World Cup.

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In his return to representative football, Addo-Carr scored a record-equalling 12 tries in five games for the Kangaroos, regularly breaking the game open with his speed. The Canterbury winger crossed five times in Australia's quarter-final victory over Lebanon before scoring a brilliant try in the semi-final against New Zealand.

Speaking on Friday, Fittler said he was equally impressed with Addo-Carr's work out of yardage, after that and his height were among the chief reasons Tupou was picked ahead of him for NSW. Asked if Addo-Carr had proved NSW wrong, Fittler was complimentary about the 27-year-old's return.

"He was fantastic (at the World Cup)," Fittler said while overseeing an NSWRL Talented Aboriginal Athletes Program on Friday. "What he did is he proved that he's the best person for that job. He was in the middle of the field and didn't let many in.

"One thing that was really strong was his defence and he was carrying the ball out of trouble. He was one of the best players in the Australian team."

Josh Addo-Carr, pictured here after Australia's win over Samoa in the World Cup final.
Josh Addo-Carr celebrates after Australia's win over Samoa in the World Cup final. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) (Naomi Baker via Getty Images)

Origin I in Adelaide remains six-and-a-half months away, but Fittler suggested World Cup form in the representative arena would be considered next year. Also of importance is the fact Fittler expects the Bulldogs to be performing better in 2023, after making clear this year he wanted players from winning teams.

"He was playing better in November than he was in March," Fittler said of Addo-Carr. "If he takes that into the off-season and then playing for Canterbury ... they've got a new couple of players and all of a sudden they could be winning games.

"It always helps when you're winning games, and he's going back to a club that in my eyes will win more games because it looks like they're going to be stronger. Everyone wants to see Josh play in the rep arena where you can see that he takes the game to another level."

Fans were highly critical of Fittler's comments, with many still seething that Addo-Carr continued to be overlooked throughout the entire Origin series in 2022.

Brad Fittler throws support behind Nathan Cleary

Meanwhile, Fittler said he found criticism of Nathan Cleary's output strange, after the NSW halfback claimed the Kangaroos No.7 jersey in Australia's World Cup win. Cleary was a standout performer in the World Cup final against Samoa but still managed to cop it from fans.

The 25-year-old had three try assists, four line break assists, four tackle breaks, a 40/20 and 119 running metres as Australia toppled Samoa 30-10 to claim the trophy.

"He cops it a lot. For one of the better players in our game, he seems to get a lot of criticism, and I'm not sure why," Fittler said. "He's not a Johnathan Thurston or an Andrew Johns, he's a Nathan Cleary.

"Sometimes he doesn't stand out, but I've never seen a game where he doesn't give 100 per cent or he's not nailing the details that people don't see."

with AAP

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