Brad Fittler has backed Michael Maguire to have success as NSW coach in State of Origin, while also revealing he's landed a new gig with the NRL. Fittler withdrew from contention to continue as Blues coach earlier this year following six years in the role.
Maguire was appointed as his successor late last month, stepping down as New Zealand coach to take on the role. Discussing the appointment at the Golden Boot ceremony on Wednesday, Fittler said he was confident Maguire would have immediate success.
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"How they (NSWRL) make their decision to get a coach is up to them," Fittler said. "But I think 'Madge' (Maguire) is a good appointment.
"He is strong with what he did with the Kiwis. He's got a good reputation and I think he will do a good job. I've never been coached by him but watching when he was at South Sydney, and he had good players, I think manages to get the best out of them."
Fittler also revealed that he's now advising the NRL on growing rugby league participation and pathways. "I've got a new role now so I'm working on that," he told News Corp.
Speaking last week, Queensland coach Billy Slater also backed Maguire. “He’s a great coach,” Slater told The Courier Mail. “I’ve been coached under Michael Maguire, and some of his assistants that he’s bringing on have been involved in some footy teams that I’ve been involved in."
Michael Maguire not guaranteeing any spots in NSW team
Speaking late last month, Maguire said there were no spots guaranteed for incumbent players in his NSW team, putting the likes of James Tedesco on notice. Under Fittler's leadership, the Blues won three of the last six series but have suffered back-to-back defeats.
Maguire said he will spend the next few weeks and months touching base with incumbent Blues players, but he insisted only those who begin the 2024 season in form will be considered at the selection table. "That's the key to bringing a successful team together," Maguire told AAP.
"I am going to make sure that everyone is in form through that period going into the Origin because you need that. In time, the opportunities will be in front of them (the current group of players) by how they go about what they do on the field."
Tedesco has been facing mounting pressure to keep his spots in both the NSW and Kangaroos teams, with Dylan Edwards emerging as the favourite to be the next Blues fullback. "To be honest, the answer is I don't know at the moment because I haven't spoken to him," Maguire said in regards to Tedesco.
"I want to find out where he's at, I think that's a very important part. If he goes and plays his best footy, well that does the talking for him. If you're playing at your best, then your belief is at the highest level and being able to bring that into camp is a big part of the one play that might be the difference."
The former South Sydney and Wests Tigers coach said he was disappointed to have to leave his role as Kiwis coach, with the New Zealand Rugby League not keen for him to have dual roles. "Unfortunately things don't always work out the way you'd like," Maguire said.
"I still feel that I could have juggled both, obviously they're campaigns (and not full seasons), it's just understanding that. But I respect peoples' thoughts. One thing I do know is when you're working in a campaign, everyone's got to be aligned. Their thoughts were in a different direction and I respected that. I'm very fortunate now that I can go on with the Blues."
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