Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Fittler Dug His Own Grave

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Fittler Dug His Own Grave

Article excerpt

MELODRAMATIC headlines, including "Knifed in the Back", no doubt summed up the feeling of some Roosters supporters in respect of the sacking of their popular and likeable coach, Brad Fittler.

But the cold, hard truth is that Freddie was not stabbed in the back, or betrayed, or insulted - as many of the headlines suggested.

He dug his own grave in Townsville six weeks ago when he went on a pre-match bender and made a prized goose of himself.

Players behaving badly is a poor image for our game, but it's another thing when an NRL coach - and one as high-profile as Fittler - turns up drunk and half dressed knocking on the wrong door on the wrong floor of the right hotel.

Fittler is a great bloke and has an attitude to coaching that most of us can't help but like. But with his team sitting on the bottom rung of the NRL ladder his Townsville episode was akin to writing his own death warrant.

And as for Brian Smith betraying Newcastle, that's bunkum too.

While the NRL permits players to negotiate with clubs a season out from the expiration of their contracts, they deserve to have egg on their face when episodes like this occur.

Besides, it is not abnormal for a coach to be sacked while under contract, so why not the reverse?

From the outside looking in, and purely from the perspective of a rugby league fan, I view Smith's move to the Roosters as a real coup.

He burned the dead wood at Newcastle and turned the Knights in to a genuine premiership hope. And for the game to be strong in Sydney the Roosters need to be a top-drawer outfit.

In an almost identical cloak-and-dagger operation three years ago, they missed out on Wayne Bennett. Now they have secured the next best man for their club.

Bring on 2010

BECAUSE my 85-year-old mum is ill, I spent last weekend in NSW visiting her in hospital.

And I had access to talkback radio emanating from Sydney.

Fair dinkum, a bloke could be excused for thinking World War III erupted at Suncorp Stadium 10 days ago.

And I could have sworn, from the conquering tone of the majority of voices, that the Blues, and not Queensland, had won the Origin series for the fourth consecutive year. …

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