Our coach has the Full Support of the Board
- St George Illawarra Dragons news
- Parramatta Eels news
- Canberra Raiders news
- Rugby League news
- NRL news
There are certain lines that no-one wants to hear in life. “We Need to Talk”, “Put your hands on your head and step outside the vehicle,” and “Michael Bani has been called into the starting team”.
For NRL coaches, though, there is only one phrase that is enough to have them shaking in their $5 Lowes trackies:
“Our coach has the full support of the board.”
As sure as a wardrobe malfunction in the Lingerie Football League, it is this fateful line that places a sloppy kiss of death upon a coach’s career, sending them from kicking the door of the video ref’s box to joining an unshaven queue at Centrelink.
With the NRL season now half-way through, it is time we take a look at the three coaches under the most fire, and evaluate their chances of outsmarting the Mayans and surviving to see 2013.
1. Steve Price (Dragons)
Following greatness is never easy. If it was, Robocop would have had a decent sequel, and Jarrod Mullen would be playing like Joey Johns, rather than “Joey” the short-lived Matt le Blanc sitcom.
After King Wayne’s reign ended, Steve Price’s performance was always going to be under the microscope, and the 2012 Dragons have been not been breathing fire. They currently sit in 11th place, with their only win in recent weeks coming through a lucky escape over the Eels (something that Nathan Hidmarsh will have to wait until the end of the year to achieve).
St George-Illawarra is a club that has a low tolerance for failure (Nathan Brown’s hairline excluded), and if the club doesn’t at least make the top eight then it is certain that the Price won’t be right for very long.
Likely replacement: Mick Potter; former player and lower-grade coach who has been solid in the ESL, and is currently working for a club with less financial nous than a bloke who bet on Ben Roberts for the Dally M.
Chances of survival: Safe for one more year, but needs results as desperately as Phil Gould needs a makeover.
2. David Furner (Raiders)
Points-scoring machine. Clive Churchill medal winner. Club legend.
Like many revered players before him, David Furner has found that the world of rugby league coaching can be as cruel and swift as a Hopoate poke. Past glories count for zilch if the team you command sits at the wrong end of the ladder.
Things hit their nadir of the weekend when the Raiders were mauled at home by the Wests Tigers, their icky lime-green defence making Beau Ryan look like Martin Offiah as they conceded forty unanswered points.
In preparation for this week’s game against fellow strugglers Newcastle, David has taken the team into camp, hoping that roasted marshmallows and some well-placed Matt Orford jokes help turn things around. Only time will tell.
Likely replacement: Current Blues coach – and angriest man in the universe that doesn’t suffer from Gamma radiation poisoning – Ricky Stuart. Or anyone with the surname “Furner”.
Chances of survival: His brother and CEO Don Furner Jnr has openly stated that David would keep his job even if the team lost thirty games in a row. So he’s probably safe until sometime next year.
3. Stephen Kearney (Parramatta)
After serving as understudy to Craig “two-books” Bellamy and guiding New Zealand to upset World Cup and Four Nations triumphs, killer Kearney looked set to spear-tackle Parra’s slide and usher in a new era of greatness for the blue and golds.
Unfortunately, the Parra board made a strategic decision to only recruit players who peaked when Ross was still chasing Rachael for the 2011 season, leaving Stephen with a team that only managed to finish above the Titans; a feat about as commendable as beating Darren Lockyer at karaoke.
Despite some high profile recruits (i.e.: high salary, high calorie, high uselessness ) joining the club for 2012, the Eels are anchored to the foot of the ladder, with Kearney being officially given two weeks to turn a Scott Fulton into a Bobby Fulton. Can he find the spark that will electrify the eels, or will he be departing the Hayne train within the fortnight?
Likely replacement: After previously serving as a successful caretaker coach for the club, Jason Taylor is seen as strong candidate by those in the know. Factors counting against him include his love of sparring with cantankerous front-rowers, and the fact that he looks like a kid who has just lost his glasses at a Harry Potter convention.
Chances of survival: On par with a skinny-dipping teenager in an 80′s horror film.
So Roarers: who do you think will be the first NRL coach to depart in 2012?
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