‘No backbone': Fittler savages Origin snub
NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has again taken aim at the Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, calling her comments to scrap the State of Origin "political suicide".
Fittler has been doing the rounds this week, talking on several different shows to take aim at the premier.
Earlier this week, Palaszczuk ruled Brisbane out of hosting a match and said she hoped the series was scrapped for the season.
She has been outspoken over the NRL's plans to restart the competition on May 28 and said Queensland teams wouldn't be able to travel back and forth.
"I love the footy as much as everyone else. I think it's devastating we're not going to see the State of Origin this year as well," the Queensland Premier told Nine Network.
When pressed on whether she thought the series will be held this year, Palaszczuk said: "I hope there's not (an Origin series)."We always have a State of Origin, but how can you have it? Maybe in December? Let's keep our fingers crossed."
Since then, it appears increasingly certain Origin will be played at the end of the year.
Palaszczuk seemingly softened her stance amid the new, although admitted it would come down to health advice.
"I said if we can have it at the end of the year I'd love to have it, or any time that is deemed safe by the chief health officer," Palaszczuk told Channel 7 News on Friday.
Doing the radio rounds, Fittler said it wasn't a surprise Palaszczuk changed her tune with the popularity of the game in Queensland.
"I'm not sure if Annastacia is a rugby league fan but she's backtracked since then and that's understandable given the popularity of the game up there, especially towards the Maroons," Fittler told ABC Grandstand on Saturday afternoon.
"I think throwing the towel seven weeks before the comp hopefully even starts, possible three or four months before Origin could play, and just giving it no chance at all is, I think, seen as political suicide. So I think she's backtracked since then. .
"I think anyone that's sort of given no one a chance to get back to some sort of normality and give some people employment, gives people entertainment and things to do, I think the mental health side of it, the productivity side of it, just getting back to any sort of normality has got to be healthy for anyone."
He was also on Triple M to take aim at the Queensland premier.
"Just throwing the towel in this early is a crazy way to go," he said. "I don't see it as anything we want to be about. It shows no spirit, no backbone. I think you've got to fight this thing to a degree by showing it respect, but also trying to find a way out of it.
"I think since then Annastacia's turned around because she realised the importance of Origin to Queensland people and NSW people."
Both Fittler and Queensland coach Kevin Walters have said they would be willing to play all three games in Sydney later in the season.
He also spoke on the Wide World of Sports' Freddy and the Eighth, calling Palaszczuk's call "ludicrous".
"I find it unusual there would've been a time that any Queensland politician or person would've uttered those words. It would be interesting to see what the voters think," he said.
"We're playing I don't care if your team turns up or not we're playing. It will be 3-0. Not having an open mind pretty unpolitical of them.
"You got an industry that employs a lot of people ticking all the boxes and looking at everything. You got a premier of Queensland just dragging it down."
Origin is an important part of the NRL season with the event attracting a reported $90 million in revenue, with Fittler pushing for fans to be allowed in, spruiking the idea for supporters to self isolate in the lead up to games in order to get into the game.
"I just think there are ways and because of the love of the game and the concept, I just feel like you can think outside the square to get fans in the ground," he said.
"It could make a hell of a story and commitment by not just players, but fans."
- with AAP
Originally published as 'No backbone': Fittler savages Origin snub