STATE OF ORIGIN
NSW coach race down to two
The battle for the NSW State of Origin coaching job is down to two, with Michael Maguire and Brad Fittler the final applicants on the shortlist to be presented to the board on Friday.
NRL.com understands a decision will be made at the monthly NSWRL board meeting on Friday, with Maguire and Fittler the final two candidates vying to become Laurie Daley's successor.
It's likely the NSWRL will appoint a part-time coach, moving away from the full-time role Daley has held since 2013.
John Cartwright and David Furner were also on the list of coaches interviewed for the job.
The NSWRL has identified two coaches with contrasting coaching philosophies, undecided on which approach is best suited to helping the Blues end Queensland's long-standing Origin dominance.
Fittler, who is believed to be the frontrunner for the role, prides himself on his relationship with the players and is likely to create the type of environment similar to what Mal Meninga built during his reign as Queensland coach.
Maguire is a stickler for discipline, but also possesses a far more tactical approach to coaching than Fittler. His tactics were pivotal in helping South Sydney to a drought-breaking premiership in 2014.
Fittler did his chances no harm with what he was able to achieve with Lebanon during the World Cup. That he managed to get a team with only a handful of NRL players to within two points of a semi-final berth hasn't been lost on those in power.
During his time as City Origin coach he was renowned for his ability to unite a group of individuals into a team in a short period of time, doing the same thing with the Lebanese squad during the World Cup.
Fittler also has an undoubted aura about him given his history as a NSW State of Origin great.
His understanding of the Blues' history and his ability to relate to the players is expected to work in his favour, something Maguire doesn't possess despite his strong coaching background.
One of the topics for discussion surrounding Fittler's potential appointment will be his media commitments and how that will impact on his role as Blues coach.
Fittler is a permanent member of the Nine Network's rugby league coverage, and is expected to continue his commitments in some capacity if he lands the Blues job.
Given the NSWRL's expected preference to go with a part-time coach, the salary won't come close to the money Maguire would be used to in club land, however the former Rabbitohs coach is determined to return to the coaching ranks.