Roosters boss backs under-fire Fittler - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters boss backs under-fire Fittler

By Ian McCullough 25/05/2009 07:45:28 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters chief executive Steve Noyce has denied under-pressure coach Brad Fittler will be forced out of the struggling NRL club.

The Roosters are currently second from bottom on the ladder, and, with Fittler off contract at the end of the year, speculation has mounted over his future.

Although Noyce admitted the club and Fittler have yet to discuss a new deal, he said there has been no contact with anyone else about the job.

"Freddie (Fittler) and I work together in the same building, we talk a lot about what we need to do short term and what we need to focus on and we'll know when the time is right to discuss the future," Noyce told AAP.

"I work and talk with him every day and we are focused on getting wins on the board."

Roosters chairman Nick Politis has refused to guarantee Fittler will be kept on at the club beyond this season and reports have linked former Great Britain coach Brian Noble with the position.

Noyce dismissed that claim as "paper talk" and also said the uncertainty surrounding Fittler would not affect player retention.

"Mitchell Pearce has recently signed a new contract, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, who has been going great for us, has signed a long-term contract so in terms of player retention it hasn't been a problem," Noyce said.

"There has been no contact with anyone about the job, Freddie is our coach and we are all focused on getting some wins on the board."

Noble, the coach of Super League giants Wigan and one of the most successful and respected names in the English game after six trophy-laden years at Bradford, has made no secret of his desire to coach in the NRL.

However, Penrith coach Matthew Elliott, who gave Noble his first coaching job as his assistant at Bradford, said his former deputy may find it difficult to get a job in Australia.

"Nobby has some real strengths as a coach ... he has fantastic dedication and always develops a real good relationship with his players and knows how to win because he won three premierships and reached the grand final five times after I left," Elliott told AAP.

"He ticks a lot of boxes but the one question mark would be adapting to football over here.

"The biggest difference over there is that there's the odd easy game, that is not the case over here ... in the UK you know pretty much at the start of the year who will be in the top four."

Elliott also said the success of Brisbane's Ivan Henjak and the Bulldogs' Kevin Moore in their first year as head coaches demonstrates the strength in coaching depth in Australia.

"The thing for Nobby getting over here is there being a whole host of outstanding candidates for any job that comes up," Elliott said.

"Look at Ivan Henjak and Kevin Moore who have stepped up from assistant positions and into first grade.

"The current crop of head coaches is as good as there has ever been and pressure moves from one coach to another depending on where you are on the ladder.

"At the moment Brad Fittler is under pressure, but my personal feelings are that he is an outstanding coach."

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