Brad Fittler's sad revelation about wife amid State of Origin scrutiny

Calls are growing for the NSW coach to be replaced after back-to-back series losses to Queensland.

Brad Fittler, pictured here with his wife Marie.
Brad Fittler has revealed how his wife Marie has been affected by scrutiny on his job as NSW State of Origin coach. Image: Getty

Brad Fittler has revealed the toll that intense scrutiny over his role as NSW State of Origin coach has taken on his wife, admitting she has been deeply affected for the first time during his tenure. Many are calling for Fittler to be replaced as Blues coach following their 2-1 series loss to Queensland, with the Maroons winning the first two games before NSW salvaged some pride in the dead rubber third.

Fittler was an immediate success when he took over as coach in 2018, winning three of his first four series in charge. But back-to-back series losses have left his record at 3-3, with calls mounting for a new coach to take over.

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The Sydney Roosters legend would have triggered a year-long extension if he had managed to steer the Blues to victory in 2023, but he will now have to prove to NSWRL hierarchy that he deserves a chance to make amends. Fittler has come under heavy fire a number of times over the last two years, particularly in regard to team selections and game-day moves.

The attacks got so intense that they finally got to his wife Marie. "I've got my methods and strategies [to deal with criticism] in place for this job. I've worked it out, but for the first time, all this talk has affected my partner and my kids," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Marie takes it to heart. It can be anger, and it can be emotional. She's Greek – it keeps things interesting."

Brad Fittler and wife Marie, pictured here in 2004.
Brad Fittler and wife Marie in 2004. (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

Speaking in an interview on 2GB, Fittler said: "You definitely take the losses harder as a coach. 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."

Brad Fittler admits speculation affected NSW players

The 51-year-old said he takes the personal attacks on the chin and uses them as motivation. "Seriously though, I love the personal attacks on my decisions of which players should be in the side.

"Like I've said before, I feel absolutely privileged to be in the position to coach this team and when they play in front of 75,000 people at the ground, to be involved in that when they win is an incredible experience. And I will never overlook that.

"The negative talk doesn't tire me out but it does tire players out. I see them come in and they look tired over all the talk and it's something they all have to get used to because I can't imagine the media is going to change.

"So, they need to get some strategies around not reading all that stuff because a lot of it is nonsense. Losing is the only thing that bothers me and it tires me so you keep trying to prepare and find a better strategy to prevent that."

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