Fittler reacts to Maroons coaching shake-up

Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has stressed the importance of coaching experience for the State of Origin series after Queensland’s Kevin Walters overhauled his own backroom staff with legendary Maroons players.

Walters reacted to losing this year’s Origin series by dumping Trevor Gillmeister, Josh Hannay and Tony Spencer from his support staff and replacing them with Justin Hodges, Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston and Petero Civoniceva for 2019.

Of the four new faces coming in, only Hodges has had experience after spending the past two years coaching the Queensland under-20s team.

Fittler, who cut his teeth coaching the Sydney Roosters and has also had experience with the City Origin side and pathways teams in the NSWRL, is assisted by former Newcastle and NSWRL pathways coach Danny Buderus, and advisor Greg Alexander.

“It was important to me to have people with coaching experience,” Fittler told NSWRL.com.au.

“I don’t care who (Queensland) pick but they seemed to have picked players with not much coaching experience.

“I’m not questioning (their credentials), but I thought it was important to have experience for my team.”

Alexander described the mass changes as a ‘production line of great Queenslanders’ but added only time will tell if they will have the desired effect for 2019.

“There may be a shortage of coaching experience but I don’t think there’s a shortage of knowledge,” Alexander said.

“They obviously thought they needed to bring in some new faces, some fresh ideas and that’s what they’ve done but that’s them looking after themselves.

“If it makes Queensland a better team and they win the series then you might look back and say that was a good move by Queensland but no-one’s to know what sort of effect it will have.

“That’s got to be good for them but I don’t know how it will affect us.”