Greg Alexander said the reason why he quit as Brad Fittler’s right hand man at the NSW Blues was because he’d simply “had enough” of the role.
The Blues are at a crossroads after the NSWRL and Fittler opted to part ways in search of a new coach, desperate to break Queensland’s growing stranglehold on State of Origin.
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In a major overhaul of NSW’s coaching staff, Alexander quit as chief advisor and selector, as former Dragons coach Paul McGregor also stepped down as assistant coach.
After six years in the role, Alexander told news.com.au he had too much on his plate with various media commitments.
“I didn’t want to stay on,” the Panthers legend and Fox League commentator said.
“I’d had enough. It was time to move on. I committed to radio for another year.
“I’ve sort of kicked it around and if you’re hesitating, it’s a job as important as that, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. I’ve thought about it the last couple of years.
“The commitments I’ve got it with radio, Fox, SEN, the Panthers — it’s been a pretty busy two years. Any hesitation with that job means that you’ve had your time. That was it.”
Speaking before Fittler’s exit as coach, Alexander backed him to stay on as NSW coach.
“Freddy wants to stay on. I’m hoping he gets another crack,” Alexander said.
“I don’t mind who Freddy gets to be involved. Whoever he thinks is the best person to help him.”
Fittler, 51, had been offered a one-year deal to continue the role he has held since 2018, despite coming off consecutive series defeats to the Maroons. It has now been revealed there were several reasons why he knocked the deal back.
Fittler was widely reported to have been pushing for a two-year extension and is reported to have walked away from the negotiating table when the NSWRL shut down his request for Phil Gould to become his chief lieutenant after Alexander stepped down.
Foxsports.com.au reports the NSWRL also knocked back other assistant coaching candidates Fittler named.
The biggest change was the call from the NSWRL board to dramatically overhaul Fittler’s role into a part-time position.
Fittler was reportedly told he would have to take a cut to his $450,000-per-year contract.
It came just one day after Queensland announced Billy Slater has signed a three-year contract extension as a full-time coach.
There is no obvious candidate to take over from Fittler, with Andrew Johns, Matthew Johns, Phil Gould, Ricky Stuart, Laurie Daley, Craig Bellamy, Michael Maguire, Geoff Toovey and McGregor all possible options.
The contrast in the stability in the coaching ranks of NSW and Queensland couldn’t be more stark, but Alexander believes having a coach locked in long-term won’t dictate the on-field performance.
“I don’t think it really matters,” he said.
“It’s good for the coach, he knows where he’s going for the next three years.
“I guess it’s good for the side but I don’t think it really matters. Whether Billy signed a one year and keep it flexible or wanted to sign for three years, which he has done, I don’t think it really has any impact on the players.
“It’s good for Bill to know exactly what he’s doing.”