Brad Fittler‘s coaching decisions have come under heavy scrutiny following the New South Wales Blues‘ 26-18 loss to Queensland in Origin I. Fittler’s selection of rookie firebrands Tevita Pangai jnr and Hudson Young proved to be misguided, with both making costly mistakes that led to Selwyn Cobbo tries. In contrast, the selection gambles of Queensland coach Billy Slater paid off, with fullback Reece Walsh and centre Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow performing well. The Blues’ intricate and disjointed plays were easily read by Queensland’s superior defence. Fittler’s preference for Panthers players is starting to feel like misguided loyalty, given that the Blues have lost three of their last four Origin matches running the same Panthers plays. The Blues now face a tricky dilemma heading into game two at Suncorp Stadium on June 21. Latrell Mitchell looms as an obvious saviour, while Cody Walker or Nicho Hynes may be options for the halves.
Former NRL star Jason Ryles has turned down the opportunity to coach St George Illawarra Dragons, instead taking up the role of assistant coach at Melbourne Storm. The decision was influenced by Storm chairman Matt Tripp, who took advantage of the Dragons‘ indecision and secured Ryles as a potential future successor to current coach Craig Bellamy. The Dragons are now considering Dean Young for their coaching position, however, systemic issues at the club have been raised.
Former NRL chief executive David Gallop was surprised to find his name on a list of candidates to become chief executive of a national racing body. The list was tendered in the Supreme Court as part of Racing NSW’s action against Racing Victoria and other state governing bodies. Gallop denied having any relationship with Racing NSW chief exec Peter V’landys, however, he currently serves on six boards, including Tabcorp, which frequently disagrees with Racing NSW and V’landys.