Former NRL star and New South Wales State of Origin representative Matty Johns has called for a club coach to take over from Brad Fittler.

Fittler quit his post as head coach of the state on Thursday despite having pitched to retain his job on the back of two straight series losses.

It had been believed the New South Wales Rugby League board were set to extend his tenure by a single year.

Ultimately, he resigned though and the Blues are now on the lookout for a new head coach.

Under current policy, a club head coach can't be appointed given it's a fulltime role within the NSWRL working across Origin, pathways and the grassroots game.

But speaking on SEN Radio, Johns, who is now one of the game's brightest minds working across multiple media commitments, agreed with the crowd calling for a club head coach - such as Craig Bellamy or Ricky Stuart - to be appointed.

“I think Ricky Stuart or (Craig) Bellamy would be good candidates,” Johns told SEN 1170 The Run Home.

“They (NSWRL) turned the sheets over a couple of years ago, they said it can't be a full-time coach, a club coach, but look I think the position we're in right now, I think it should be.

“Slater's done an incredible job with Queensland, but I do know the amount of time he puts into it, where NSW is now, we need a coach that is, for the use of a better term, ‘coach fit'.

“That'll be a Bellamy or Ricky Stuart.”

Johns suggested the situation where Damien Cook played on the wing during the disastrous 2023 series could have been avoided with a full-time coach.

“Thinking on your feet, suddenly a player goes down and you're going, ‘What the hell are we going to do here', you've got a million things going on in your head and suddenly you're putting Damien Cook on the wing,” Johns added.

“This is some of the stuff we're talking about… I could only imagine how difficult it would be for a part-timer to go in there and in the cut-throat environment of a State of Origin game, you lose a key man (and think) what are we going to do?

“I think going forward for NSW, certainly I think in the next couple of years, let's get someone who's coach fit in there.”

Both Stuart and Bellamy have coached the Blues previously, while calls were also being made for Des Hasler to take over after this year's series and prior to his appointment as new head coach of the Gold Coast Titans.