Fittler impressed by young talent
NSW Coach Brad Fittler is impressed with the quality of young talent in Manly’s four NSW Emerging Blues players.
Lachlan Croker, Brian Kelly, Jack Gosiewski, and Luke Metcalf will work with Fittler and his coaching staff at the Emerging Blues camp at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
Fittler says the time has arrived for new signing Croker to strongly push his claims to partner Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves.
“The good thing is that he has someone like Metcalf and Tom Wright also fighting for the position, so it is about him stepping up. It will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure.”
Fittler said Metcalf had impressed him in the NSWRL Pathways program in recent years.
“Luke scored three tries for NSW U18s last year against Queensland. He is a great kid and is one of those blokes who is just low hassle,’’ Fittler said.
“I just love his attitude. He loves the game and he will definitely go places. He is 18, and with his speed, I’m sure he will play 200 first grade games without a doubt.”
Fittler was impressed with the form Kelly showed in his debut season in the NRL in 2017, which saw him earn a Country Origin jersey.
“Watching what he did last year for Manly, Brian is a strong contender. The good thing about him was there was a time where he got caught out a bit in defence and he missed a few games, but he came back into the team and just got better. That is a great sign of a good player.”
Fittler said new Gosiewski was a player with untapped potential.
“Jack is a bit of a smoky. He is one of those players who spent a couple of years injured but I remembered when he played first grade, I was pretty impressed with him,’’ Fittler said.
“He is a big bloke who hasn’t played much for his age. He is a capable player who has impressed the couple of coaches he has had.”
Fittler said there was plenty for the Manly players to take from the Emerging Blues camp.
“They have to understand there is a really big opportunity now. We have some ex-great NSW players Andrew Johns, Craig Fitzgibbon, Matt King, Anthony Minichiello and Danny Buderus on the coaching staff,’’ he added.
“If they just listen and take something from those blokes, then they should improve. The one key thing all those blokes had was they were competitors, and that’s what we are really looking for. Players who just get in there and compete.”