For the first time in his State of Origin coaching career Brad Fittler has led the Blue to two straight series losses.
This is also the first time during his tenure as New South Wales head coach that Fittler will be taking his side into the third and final game of a series after losing the first two which will allow him to save his job.
Whenever an Origin coach goes down 2-0 in a series their future instantly becomes uncertain with many fans calling for them to lose their job but it also gives said coach, in this case Fittler, a chance to start rebuilding their squad and indicate to the power brokers at New South Wales Rugby League that they have a plan moving forward that could be fully enacted in the following year’s series.
If Brad Fittler is to pick a similar side to the one that he has for the first two games of the 2023 series and the Blues lose yet again then there will be no coming back for the former Penrith Panther and Sydney Rooster as it will show without a doubt that it is time to move on from the ‘Fittler Era’ and bring in a new coach with fresh ideas.
One could argue that if Fittler picks a relatively new side for game III and New South Wales lose that he would still lose his job and while this may be true those in charge at the NSWRL will be more likely to change their tune on Fittler if the Blues win game III with a side full of new talent as opposed to the one we have seen for the past few years as it will emphasise the fact that Fittler is willing to rebuild his squad and has somewhat of a plan in place for the future of New South Wales that is not just picking the same players as he has before.
The first big change Fittler could make is the one that has been most requested by fans and would be the change that cements a new era for the Blues more than any other and that is to select Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards over current Australia, Roosters and New South Wales captain James Tedesco.
In the past the argument against Edwards being picked to play Origin was that despite his consistent exemplary form Tedesco was still playing good enough for club and state to retain his Blues jersey.
However, we are currently at the stage where this is no longer the case and while being New South Wales captain has been the biggest factor in Tedesco remaining in the squad to this point it is starting to become the main reason to not select him as what better way for Fittler to announce a new Blues era than by selecting a new captain to lead this revitalised squad in game III and into the future.
Loyalty should only ever be encouraged while it is beneficial to all parties involved but it has gotten to the point now where remaining loyal is no longer beneficial to Brad Fittler’s career as coach of the New South Wales State of Origin side and he must institute change for game III if he is to keep his job.