New South Wales coach Brad Fittler is still holding ambitions of a return to the NRL coaching ranks as he prepares to face arguably the greatest the game has seen when the Blues line up for Origin III.
Fittler last coached in the NRL in 2009, where he was sacked by the Roosters after the Chooks claimed the wooden spoon.
The NSW coach took over from Chris Anderson two years prior in an interim position, with the Roosters flourishing under their temporary leader, who was eventually appointed to the job full-time.
Fast forward three years and Fittler is eyeing off a third-straight series win as he comes up against supercoach Wayne Bennett and the Maroons.
If the Blues are successful at Suncorp Stadium, Fittler will be the first to lead NSW to three consecutive series victories since 2005.
Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Fittler revealed he still has aspirations to return to coach an NRL side.
“I think so. I don’t walk away from those nerves on game day,” Fittler said. “Actually, it’s quite a nice feeling. That gets you going.”
Fittler, a mentor that relies on meditation and ‘earthing’, believes that his methods would succeed at club level.
“I think so. You realise how important staff is. They were the things I didn’t realise early; recruiting, staff, relationships with the club and that sort of stuff.
“I was very naive on that behalf. I got to handpick all of these people and they’re pretty much the best in their field. Things work so well. There’s no problems, there’s just shit to do.”
NSW captain James Tedesco backed his Origin coach to make the return.
“Yeah, if he wanted to that would be pretty cool,” Tedesco said.
“I don’t know if he wants to, but I’m sure he would do a great job. I know it was hard when he went straight to the Roosters pretty early, but that was a pretty long time ago now. I’m sure he’s learnt a lot about coaching since then.”
Speaking on Fittler left of centre methods, the Blues fullback backed the practice to work across a 12 month regime.
“It’s worked at a pretty high level in Origin and I’m pretty sure he’d have pretty good support staff around him as well. He knows the game of footy, he knows how to get us up for it. I can’t see why not,” he said.
Tedesco contrasted Fittler with Roosters coach Trent Robinson, stating the two were at opposite ends of the mentoring spectrum.
“Freddy’s obviously not as detailed as Robbo, Robbo is very detailed and you have to be like that if you’re going to be a consistent NRL coach,” he said.
“Freddy is more on feel and confidence building. For us, he brings us together as a team and in these sort of camps that’s the most important thing.
“We all want to play for each other, we all want to play for Fred, we want to play for the coaching staff. He brings that out and that’s shown the last few years.
“We want to play for each other and play for the jersey. A big one for Freddy was bringing that pride back into the NSW jersey.
“It was pretty lost 10 or so years ago when Queensland were dominating. It’s all about playing for the jersey and being proud of playing for NSW.”