Premier hits back at ‘ridiculous’ Fittler

The office of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has bluntly labelled New South Wales coach Brad Fittler’s relentless criticism as “ridiculous”, denouncing the NRL great for ignoring health restrictions.

Earlier this week, Palaszczuk ruled Brisbane out of hosting a State of Origin match and said she hoped the series was scrapped for the season. She has also been outspoken about the NRL’s proposal to kickstart the competition on May 28th.

However, she seemingly softened her stance soon after, admitting it would come down to health advice.

Fittler said it wasn’t a surprise Palaszczuk changed her tune considering the game’s popularity 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.

“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.

“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 … 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.”

NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler celebrates with Mitchell Pearce following their win in Game 3 of the 2019 State of Origin series.Source:AAP

Fittler also took aim at the Queensland premier on Triple M.

“Just throwing the towel in this early is a crazy way to go,” he said on Saturday.

“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.”

It didn’t end there. The New South Wales coach continued his tirade against Annastacia on Sunday.

“Given it’s so far away, not to give it a chance, I find it ludicrous," Fittler said Freddy & The Eighth.

“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 is pretty unpolitical of them.

“You’ve got an industry that employs a lot of people ticking all the boxes and looking at everything and you’ve got a Premier of Queensland just dragging it down.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.Source:News Corp Australia

However, Palaszczuk bluntly returned serve on Sunday, labelling Fittler’s comments “ridiculous” in a statement, which stated her focus amid the global health crisis has been on ensuring the health and safety of Queenslanders.

“It’s ridiculous. The Premier is in the midst of a global pandemic and is managing the health concerns for Queensland,” a spokesperson for Palazczuk said.

“They always come first. The Premier has said often that the health advice comes first.”

The Sydney Morning Herald also reported Palaszczuk is open to take part in discussions with the NRL regarding possible travel exemptions.

Fittler and the Blues are targeting a hat trick of Origin victories this year after securing consecutive titles in 2018 and 2019.

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