You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Greg Alexander, Warren Ryan and Andrew Johns.

As Queensland invited the self-appointed 'Coach Whisperer' into camp Brad Fittler and his staff are picking the brain that revolutionised rugby league defence.

Two-time premiership winning coach Warren Ryan was the latest special guest in Blues camp on Friday, joining NSW for a physical hit out in the wet at Coogee Bay Oval.

Ryan was invited to NSW training by Eighth Immortal and halves coach Andrew Johns, the pair having a close bond dating back to their days at Newcastle 20 years ago.

Now 77 and with his clipboard well and truly retired after a 1980s heyday that delivered two Bulldogs premiership in the famous 'up-and-in' defence, Ryan nonetheless had Fittler and his staff all ears as he talked Origin tactics.

"He's got a great rugby league mind, one of the best still after all these years," NSW staffer Greg Alexander told

"To be honest we all ended up just listening to him. We spoke about the players in the team and he gave us his thoughts about the game so far this series.

"You pick up something every time you talk to Warren. It won't shape a whole game plan or anything, it doesn't matter who you are, but whenever you talk to Warren there's some bit of knowledge you can use or keep up your sleeve for later.

"I daresay Freddie would've got something out of it for sure."

Ryan's invite to Blues training came after controversial mind coach Bradley Stubbs addressed Queensland players earlier in the week, his involvement in Maroons' preparations an ongoing talking point in the series.

Ryan didn't deliver a team address but mingled with Johns and several players throughout the session.

With 23 years and over 400 games of first grade coaching experience, Ryan's brutally tough Canterbury packs shifted rugby league's dynamic in the mid-80s.

His influence was traced through the likes of Phil Gould, Wayne Pearce, Steve Folkes and plenty of others throughout the '90s and 2000s when Fittler was in his playing prime, while Johns and fellow Blues assistant Danny Buderus both played under him at Newcastle.

"Wok revolutionised coaching, there's no doubt about that," Alexander said.

"And a lot of the great coaches have come from the Warren Ryan genealogy.

"If you had that history of coaches, where they come from and who their knowledge of the game comes from, there's so many that get traced back to Wok.

"Just having him around, chatting rugby league strategy and its evolution through the modern game and going right back through his career and that development. It was great having him in there today."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners