Brad Fittler, former Premiership-winning NSW coach, has publically outlined his wish to coach NSW again and confirmed that he is officially reapplying for the role. This announcement came with the backing of his family, after a period of consideration following the team’s 2-1 series defeat to Queensland this year.
Last week, Fittler went to NSWRL board with a performance review of his six series tenure, a period in which he achieved a 9-9 overall record and won three series, an equal 50 per cent win rate. This happened alongside sustained dominance from the Queensland Maroons. This performance has drawn criticism that has not only affected Fittler, but also his family.
Despite the setbacks, the 51-year-old firmly believes the benefits of continuing far outweigh the drawbacks. Speaking to the media, a passionate Fittler said, “I’ve still got the energy, I’ve still got the drive. It is what it is, I love it, it’s fantastic. It’s a shame [the scrutiny] affects people around you, but that’s life.”
As for the NSW Blues, they are set to convene at The Star for the Brad Fittler Medal event on Monday night. An official announcement for the coaching role next year is expected to be revealed in a month. Fittler is said to be preparing to present the board with a comprehensive team plan, including potential changes to his assistant coaching staff.
While the extension of the contract won’t be finalised until the upcoming board meeting, Fittler is anticipated to retain his role for another year. However, he said the decision would be based on the future rather than the past. Fittler noted, “There have been challenges along the way, it is what it is. Now it’s just about the decision going forward.”
Fittler is next only to Phil Gould in terms of NSW coaching achievements, with Gould having steered the team to 14 wins in 24 games. Quit for the final third game, Fittler made seven changes bringing in Bradman Best, Cody Walker, Jacob Saifiti, Keaon Koloamatangi, Jake Trbojevic, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, and Clint Gutherson. This led to a victory for the Blues, avoiding a total sweep.
Commenting on this, Fittler said, “I was just grateful they played good in front of their home fans and scored some good tries.” He also emphasised his dedication, “It’s nice that people put faith in me and now it’s about repaying it. Hopefully you win more than you lose.”
NSWRL Chairman Paul Conlon admitted he only became aware of Fittler’s intentions during last week’s deconstruction of the season. Conlon noted that Fittler had been greatly impacted by the media backlash throughout the series, but had ultimately chosen to continue his journey as coach for the coming year.
Conlon stated, “As a result of that, he is going to get back to us with some other material and we will consider the whole situation at our next board meeting.”