NSW Blues veteran Benny Elias has made a bold prediction about the future of coach Brad Fittler, following the team’s second consecutive series loss. Fittler, who’s contract ends after the 2023 series, is facing immense pressure to keep his job. While Elias didn’t want to criticize his former Blues teammate too harshly, he did acknowledge the need for a thorough evaluation.
“The positive thing for NSW is that there is still hope for game three,” Elias stated during an interview on Nine’s Today show. “I don’t want to speak on Freddy’s behalf, but there are many people criticizing him at the moment. He’s a close friend of mine, and it’s difficult to be too critical of him. I know he committed his heart and soul to the NSW coaching role. However, the team needs to undergo an intense review, and I believe the outcome will not come as a surprise.”
During Origin II, the Blues were outplayed by the Maroons and faced a setback when star center Tom Trbojevic left the field due to injury in the opening minutes. Damien Cook replaced Trbojevic, but due to the reshuffling, there was an evident weakness in the Blues’ defense.
Elias expressed his surprise at the team’s lack of preparation for a potential Trbojevic injury, considering he had already been replaced in the previous game. “Everything seemed to go wrong for NSW right from the start,” Elias commented. “Tom Trbojevic’s early injury was a real disaster, but I thought they would have been better prepared. In the first game, Tommy was replaced with 11 minutes remaining, and unfortunately, Nicho was at fault, missing a couple of tackles. You would think that for game two, they would have been ready, but unfortunately, that was not the case, and the Queenslanders completely dominated us.”
Fittler avoided discussing interchanges after the match, stating that it was impossible to cover every position. When asked about his coaching future, he responded, “We still have another game to go, so I will focus on that. Afterward, I’ll see what happens with Troddo (NSWRL chair Dave Trodden) and the board. We’ll evaluate things then. For now, my priority is the next game. We have a couple of weeks to improve and turn things around, and then we can discuss it further.”
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Hasibur Rahaman is a passionate sports journalist. He covers everything from cricket to field hockey, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis of sporting events, both within India and on the international stage.