Fittler was promoted by Queensland’s Billy Slater, who began his coaching journey in 2022, leading the Maroons to back-to-back wins, without much experience in the NRL.
However Gould urged Fittler to hire a new NRL coach to help the players, in a bid to revive the Blues’ hopes of taking the series next year.
Fittler’s shocking decision to have Penrith coach Ivan Cleary, who was a former Panthers backs leader, in the Blues coaches’ box in the dead rubber game, led to questions about Cleary’s involvement, and the extent to which the Blues played. ‘ 24-10 win.
Best relive his magical appearance
Cleary was in the Blues control room for the game, along with assistants Paul McGregor and Danny Buderus, as well as mentor Greg Alexander, and was seen smiling at the Blues’ best performance in the series.
While Cleary’s presence may prompt conspiracy theorists to suggest the Penrith coach is the next man to lead NSW, Gould insists Cleary’s installation will prove something.
“What Brad Fittler needs to do is have a current NRL coach on his staff even if he’s a consultant,” Gould said on the Six Tackles and Gus podcast.
“I compare it to when I was coaching Origin. I coached Origin for five years, I was coaching club teams.
“I was coaching the Panthers and Roosters at the time, I was also coaching Origin. Then the next time I came back I was the head coach at Tambala.
“I was in the training camp, it helped. I can’t imagine being a team coach and then being thrown into the game in the middle of the year as they are asking.”
Slater’s coaching staff includes Queensland seniors Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith, as well as recent Sharks assistant Josh Hannay. Nate Myles and Allan Langer are also in the supporting cast for Queensland
Gus’ question on the ‘physical monster’
Gould, who announced Fittler as the only candidate for the NSW head coaching role, believes a lack of contact with the NRL coaching world cost the Blues defensively in the opening two games.
“It took three games for NSW to defend well. They defended better in game three than they did in the first two games.
“That’s where they lost. Their defense wasn’t good enough in the first two games.
“I don’t know what Ivan’s job was, but I said before that he wanted a team coach, even if he was sound.
“I don’t know what is going on inside and the decisions, but Ivan has a very high team and his players are in it, it would be important to have someone like that.”
Gould added: “It’s all the people he (Fittler) has there, who are good people, like Danny Buderus and Greg Alexander and all these great people.
“You still have to connect with what these players are doing, training, what they are doing in club football.
“The language they use, the formations they run, the defensive communication they have. makes a difference.”
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