NRL News: Fittler, Slater reject Kangaroos selector roles, Papi’s X-ray vision, Dufty departs Dogs


Origin coaches Brad Fittler and Billy Slater have turned down the chance to be national selectors as they didn’t want to compromise their positions with their respective states.

The ARL Commission had wanted to shake up the panel by bringing in Slater and Fittler for former selectors Darren Lockyer and Laurie Daley but they have rejected the offers.

A preliminary extended squad is due to be selected soon for the end-of-season World Cup which will be culled at the end of the NRL season to 24.

Fittler and Slater, who got the better of his counterpart in his debut Origin series with a 2-1 victory, are also commentators on Channel Nine so they are busy enough as it is.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is trying to get clarity from several players with dual eligibility about whether they will commit to Australia or another nation for the World Cup.

Roosters lock Victor Radley has already pledged his allegiance to England, teammate Daniel Tupou will represent Tonga despite playing for NSW in Origin while fellow Blues winger Brian To’o has stated he wants to line up for Samoa.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 18: Blues coach Brad Fittler and Daniel Tupou look on after game three of the State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on November 18, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Papenhuyzen’s injury in black and white

Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen would have been a strong chance to be in Australia’s World Cup squad but will not play again in 2022 after fracturing his kneecap in 10 places in a sickening collision with Canberra’s Jack Wighton last weekend.

It continues a rotten run of luck for the Storm star who has been close to an Origin debut on a few occasions over the past two years only for a string of leg injuries, a concussion layoff and a bout of COVID to get in the way.

Papenhuzen sent scans of his X-ray to the NRL Physio, Brian Seeney, which revealed the extend of the damage to his kneecap, clearly showing the three surgical screws which have been inserted to repair his shattered patella.

Dufty gone, Potter keen to stay at kennel

Interim Canterbury coach Mick Potter says he wants to make his stay at the club a permanent one, even if he loses out to Cameron Ciraldo in the battle to get the top job.

Matt Dufty meanwhile has been granted an immediate release to join Warrington who have already signed teammate Paul Vaughan and Dragons veteran Josh McGuire for next season.

Potter has been in charge of the Dogs on a temporary basis for the best part of two months and declared for the first time on Thursday he would be open to taking it on a full-time basis.

The Bulldogs have picked up just four wins this season – two of them coming under axed coach Trent Barrett – but Potter has Canterbury playing with freedom in attack.

Potter’s public declaration comes the day after Ciraldo, who is currently an assistant coach at Penrith, was pictured meeting with Canterbury sponsors.

“It’s a really tough one and I think I could take it on,” Potter said of the head coaching vacancy.

“I think it would be a really good challenge. I know there are another couple of tough seasons to come for the Bulldogs but I think I could handle it.

“I think it would be a big challenge for me personally, but I’d be up for it.”

After assuming the interim role, Potter, 58, had indicated he was only filling in for the club he served with distinction as a player for six years.

Bulldogs interim head coach Michael Potter

Bulldogs interim head coach Michael Potter (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

He had planned to step back to coaching at NSW Cup level once a replacement for Barrett had been found.

Despite Potter’s late pitch for the role, Ciraldo is still expected to get the head coaching gig after he turned down the Wests Tigers role last month.

Potter, who has extensive experience coaching at the top level with Wests Tigers, Fiji, Catalans and St Helens, could also be the perfect sounding board for Ciraldo, 37, as he embarks on his first head coaching job.

“If I can play some part with the club going forward that’s great,” Potter said. “But I know what they are after and I think he (Ciraldo) would be a good fit for the club.

“Going forward, I would love to stay involved in the club and do something in a football capacity. Whether it be (as an) assistant or something in the football department, I’ll have a discussion later. I think I can do various roles.”

Potter will be without fullback Jake Averillo for Sunday’s game against the Gold Coast after he tested positive to COVID-19.


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