Fittler to learn from Gould's Origin tenure
Newly-appointed NSW coach Brad Fittler admits he will try to replicate the values and desire Phil Gould implemented during his reign as the most successful State of Origin coach the Blues have had.
Fittler, who intends to use both Gould and Andrew Johns in his support staff, spoke of how he intends to build confidence within the team after being appointed to the job in Sydney on Friday.
"That's what Gus did, he instilled confidence in you," Fittler told NRL.com after being announced as Blues coach for the next two years.
"He had a great ability of picking good people, and he had a great ability of making you feel confident. That's what you need to do.
"You can't [over-coach]. The key is that everyone has to walk away confident. They have to walk onto a field confident, and you have to walk up into a box and into half-time confident. If you're confident then you get the best of you. I think that's the key."
The biggest problem for NSW in recent years has been their inability to find, and stick, with a winning halves combination.
Pressure on incumbents Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney to hold onto their positions ahead of a new generation of talent is mounting, with Eels playmaker Mitchell Moses and Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary leading the charge.
Fittler worked closely with Moses throughout the World Cup in guiding Lebanon to a historic quarter-final appearance and won't be afraid to pick him in the halves next season, however a lot could hinge on how the Eels' start 2018.
While Fittler admitted Moses "showed so much more than I thought he had" during the World Cup, the new Blues coach insists club form and the position of teams on the ladder will go a long way to deciding the make-up of his side for the opening game of the series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 6.
"I thought he was fantastic," Fittler said of Moses.
"He played in a team that I don't think won the metreage in any game and Tonga and Australia both ran for about 600 metres more than us. We weren't going forward. The way he stayed composed and did what he did was a credit to him.
"He's got to do it at Parramatta. They've got a good footy team there. If they are sitting towards the top of the ladder leading into May then he's most probably as good a chance as any of the halves."
At the end of the failed 2017 Origin series, the focal point of the criticism of NSW's failed campaign was the culture of the players under Laurie' Daley's watch.
There's a perception that an underlying "booze culture" continues to plague NSW in their pursuit of ending Queensland's long-standing Origin dominance.
But Fittler said he didn't focus on that during the interview process.
"I didn't talk about culture," he said.
"I just talked about how I see the camps running, about things I train, the things I coach, the stuff I'll be doing off the field and how it will all run in line with Channel Nine and State of Origin."
Fittler will continue his work with Channel Nine throughout the next two years but has agreed to cut back on the time he will spend on the sidelines.
The ex-Sydney Roosters coach beat former South Sydney premiership-winning coach Michael Maguire to the job.
"We had some preliminary discussions with Michael Maguire," NSWRL chairman George Peponis said.
"Following those discussions, it was apparent that Michael's primary interest was in NRL coaching."
Holden State of Origin Game 1 in Melbourne is on-sale and tickets are available at nrl.com/tickets.
Tickets will be available for Games 2 and 3 on Thursday 7th December at nrl.com/tickets (Game 2 – ANZ Stadium, Sunday June 25th , Game 3 – Suncorp Stadium, Wednesday July 11th)