Can culture changing coaches survive in the NRL?
Stephen Kearney is one of the NRL's under pressure coaches (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)
Patience seems foreign in modern day sport. Everything is instant and the reality of a situation can be distorted in the week to week dissection of results.
The unfashionable truth is that changing the culture of a club takes time.
But are fans, past players and officials willing to sit tight and wait to see a project to bear fruit when it seems far easier to take from the branch early and declare the selection sour?
Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney and his Penrith counterpart Ivan Cleary both have almighty jobs ahead.
Kearney has been forced to deal with a ridiculous amount of pressure and barely a week goes by where his future isn’t a topic of discussion.
The Eels sit on the bottom of the NRL ladder after 15-rounds with an 18-point loss to South Sydney on Saturday night was the latest setback.
Cleary rules with an iron-fist.
He has stripped club hero Luke Lewis of the captaincy, dropped State of Origin centre Michael Jennings to Windsor and given local junior Lachlan Coote a quick reminder of what life could be like outside the comfort of the NRL.
The Panthers are just one place above the Eels on the ladder and described yesterday’s loss to the Gold Coast Titans as “an exercise in self-mutilation.”
It’s no great surprise that these two men are under pressure. In-fact on the surface it makes complete sense.
But both have made it known they’re trying to fix problems that aren’t of their making.
They’re trying to put systems in place which will benefit the club for decades.
Both are striving to build a culture that rivals the competition front-runners, but that culture didn’t develop overnight.
Unfortunately for the same fans, past players and officials this takes time – something that is rarely given to people in professional sport.
The alternative is to go for the quick fix, cut ties and bank on the new coach bounce.
It generally only serves to paper over the cracks that will eventually work their way up to the surface again.
Unless coaches are given the time and space to see a plan through, a club tends to be in a constant state of transition.
That’s not healthy either.
So, can a culture changing coach survive in modern day sport, or is the lure of a perceived greener pasture too hard to ignore?
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.
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