Brad Fittler says he would happily do another mid-game interview from the coaches' box during next year's State of Origin series, even in a match where the series was still live.
Channel Nine asked Fittler before Wednesday’s third and final fixture in Brisbane whether he would be happy to give his thoughts while the game was in progress.
Open and honest: Blues coach Brad Fittler (left).
The openness of the two interviews, which occurred late in the first half and then again during the second half, took many viewers by surprise, but is certainly not a first in Australian sport.
Fox Sports commentators regularly interview Super Rugby coaches around the 45-minute mark to get their thoughts on a match. Even at Test level, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has been happy to offer his time during stressful periods watching his men go about their business.
Fittler, who is employed by Channel Nine as a commentator, said he understood why some coaches would not be keen on the idea, but said it was worthwhile pursuing.
“My job is as a commentator, so I feel quite comfortable talking, while other coaches might not be,” Fittler said. “I didn’t find it distressing, but maybe some others would.
“There’s only so many things you can do sometimes. I was enjoying the game, which was good, and it was an enjoyable game. It wasn’t quite going our way but, all in all, it was quite enjoyable. I’m quite happy to talk on camera.”
Asked whether he would consider doing it in a live game, Fittler replied: “Yeah, I can’t see why not. Opening the team to the media has changed a lot of views. Speaking like that didn’t really bother me.”
A day after going down to Queensland 18-12, the Blues were warmly greeted by hundreds of fans at a special event at The Star.
There was no shortage of blue jerseys and wigs as the NSW faithful did their best to get a photo with the men who have helped restore pride in the jumper.
NSW Rugby League chief executive Dave Trodden thanked fans for their support before acknowledging Fittler’s role in transforming the Blues.
“He’s done an enormous job and made some really courageous decisions to get us where we got to to bring that trophy back,” Trodden said. “I know he’s got the enduring gratitude and support of everyone in the state. He’s done a wonderful job and he’s the man most responsible for that shield being here.”
There was still chatter among fans about Billy Slater’s controversial man of the series award in a losing team.
Common sense would suggest the recipient has to be on the winning side and there were a number of Blues stars who put themselves in a position to take out the Wally Lewis Medal.
One of those was James Tedesco, who was man of the match in game one and an influential figure in the other two fixtures.
“The games he [Slater] played, he was awesome,” Tedesco said. “He is a champion player so deserves all the credit he gets. A lot of our boys I thought were a chance. Some boys had great series, but he got it so that’s how it is.”
Another in contention was Jake Trbojevic. Asked whether he would have preferred a series win or a man of the series award, it wasn’t a difficult decision for the 24-year-old.
“Bloody oath, take the shield any day,” Trbojevic said. “He [Slater] is such a great player. He sort of deserves everything he gets. I didn’t think too much about it.
“There were some boys on our team who put their hand up but it’s hard to argue against Billy Slater when he’s such a great player.”
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