Phil Gould in huge State of Origin development amid NSW coaching upheaval

The former Blues coach said he would answer the call.

Phil Gould reacts and Brad Fittler talks.
Phil Gould (pictured left) said he would answer Brad Fittler's (pictured right) call if he reached out next year for State of Origin. (Getty Images)

Phil Gould has said he would answer Blues coach Brad Fittler's call for next year's State of Origin series if it came to it. There were plenty of talks around Fittler and whether he would remain with the Blues coach this year having lost two series in a row to rival coach Billy Slater.

Fittler came under pressure for a number of divisive selections in this year's State of Origin, which the Blues lost 2-1, which saw them defeated in the first two games. However, reports suggest the Blues board are expected to hand Fittler a 12-month extension on his contract for one more series.

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A number of names in the coaching staff could leave with Greg Alexander announcing he would not stay on as Fittler's chief adviser, having held the role of right-hand man since the Blues coach took over in 2018. McGregor has also told AAP he will not return to the Origin set-up in 2024 due to other commitments, after acting as an assistant to Fittler this season.

The Blues are desperate to turn the run of poor form around next year and Gould told The Sydney Morning Herald he wouldn't rule out returning to help Fittler. “When it comes to Brad Fittler, he has never asked me for much ... anything I’ve ever asked him to do, he has always said yes,” Gould said.

“And the same applies to me, anything he asks, I always say yes. We will worry about Origin if he asks.” Gould is currently the head of football at the Bulldogs.

Gould is the Blues' most successful ever coach having won six and drawn one series while in charge.

Brad Fittler reacts.
Brad Fittler (pictured) is reportedly set to stay on as Blues head coach for at least one more series. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

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Changes are likely around the entire Blues structure, including a discussion around the length of camps before matches after an external push for shorter stays. The preference would be for players to attend recovery sessions with their clubs after they are named for NSW, before entering camp on a Monday afternoon.

That would still allow for a 10-day camp, while cutting out one night at the start. Alexander had earlier said he had not discussed with Fittler who may take his job to work alongside the head coach in 2024.

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"I've just decided that that's enough," Alexander told SEN. "It's been a massive part of my last six years. But it's a big commitment and I've committed elsewhere.

"And when Freddy asked me are you good to go again, it's not a job that you (should) hesitate on. Freddy wants to continue and I certainly wish him well."

with AAP

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