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Brad Fittler quits as NSW coach in massive Origin shock

NSW rugby league is in a state of shock after Blues coach Brad Fittler sensationally quit on Thursday afternoon.

In a stunning development, Fittler told the NSWRL board and CEO David Trodden of his decision to resign immediately, despite only recently pleading his case to remain in the job.

Fittler has coached NSW for six years, with his State of Origin record sitting at three series wins, including back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019 and a record-breaking series win in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic when all three games were played in Queensland.

In a statement, NSWRL Chairman Paul Conlon said the board offered Fittler the job for 2024, however he declined.

“The board understands and respects his decision,” Conlon said.

“Freddy was a legend as a player and returned to coach the team at a time when his state needed him.

“He enjoyed immediate success and his series win in 2021, which included record scorelines in Townsville and Brisbane, will go down in NSW Blues history.

“He also contributed through other programs including his Hogs motorcycle rides in regional NSW which played a big part in uniting the state. “He holds a special place in NSW Rugby League history.”

Fittler said he thoroughly enjoyed his time coaching the NSW team.

“I loved doing the job and NSW and I will always love NSW,” he said in the statement.

Fittler coached 18 State of Origin matches for the Blues and ended as the second most capped NSW coach of all-time behind Phil Gould (24).

NSWRL said they will immediately begin the search for a new coach with Raiders boss Ricky Stuart and Storm mentor Craig Bellamy set to come under consideration.

Fittler’s exit comes on the same day Billy Slater signed a three-year contract extension to remain in charge of Queensland’s Origin side.