How is your NRL club’s coach going in 2012?
The coaching gig in the NRL is certainly a pressure cooker environment. Coaches are not only faced with the responsibilities of having a winning team on the paddock, they are accountable to the board, the fans and the media. Let’s see how your coach is going;
Brisbane – Anthony Griffin
Recently inked a new deal to secure his services at Red Hill up to 2016. “The Hook” is in charge of one of the highest profile clubs in the NRL. Brisbane are accustomed to finals success and anything else is considered a failure (ask Ivan Henjak).
The unassuming and reserved Griffin seems to have the respect of his players and is enjoying on-field success. The understudy fast becoming the master.
Griffin has the club going places in 2012 and another certain finals appearance and possibly beyond.
Bulldogs – Des Hasler
High profile off-season recruit to the Bulldogs kennel and linked to stay there up to 2016. Not long after the Gatorade had dried from his doused suit at last year’s grand final, Des had up and left for Belmore. Shrewd tactician and has the mobile Dog’s forward pack using the ball in attack with great impact.
The Dogs are flying this year and have turned around their disappointments of 2011 under Des’s tutelage. Des has a touch of enigmatic genius, his hair is cool and his post-match press conferences have more theatre than Shakespeare.
Should take the Doggies to another level come September.
Canberra – David Furner
Perennial underachievers often failing to live up to pre-season expectations. While on paper, Furner’s tenure is secure to 2014, there are rumblings and whispers that Ricky Stuart is sniffing around for his gig.
Furner’s talents as a player are without question, however the jury is out if he has the nous to mastermind future success for the Green Machine. Injuries haven’t helped his cause this year. One plus for David’s job security, his brother is CEO
Cowboys – Neil Henry
The Cowboys have rediscovered the flair they were known for when they made their one and only grand final appearance. Much maligned, Henry has the Cowboys in a position to make a charge around September. Thurston appears to be settled at the club, despite rumours of him heading to Penrith and the team is playing good footy.
Henry has good credentials as assistant at Origin level and clearly knows how to win footy games. Tied up to 2013, Henry’s biggest test will be to get the Cowboys winning in Sydney come September.
Titans – John Cartwright
“Hoss” is safe at Robina to 2017, whether the same can be said for the club is another matter. A promising start to his coaching career, taking the Titans to respectable finals finishes. Has the bubble burst or will a late charge in 2012 help his cause remains to be seen. Otherwise John may be looking for alternate employment at the Centre of Excellence.
Manly – Geoff Toovey
The defending premiers have been decimated with injuries in 2012 however, with their full squad available, should not be written off. Toovey has taken his stellar on-field career as both player and runner to the coach’s box and has settled in well. On a hiding to nothing attempting to win back to back titles for the club, Toovey has displayed his energy and passion throughout the year.
Most notably, his spray against Parramatta demonstrates Toovs has the fire in the belly and aptitude for the coaching role (hope for Manly’s sake that Des didn’t take that door repairer to Belmore). Signed for the 2014 season, will this club legend continue in Hasler’s tradition?
Melbourne – Craig Bellamy
Benchmark NRL coach and at the forefront of all innovations including chicken wings, crushers, second phase runners and angry coach box rants. Reportedly, one of the highest paid coaches in the game, Bellamy is secure at the Storm only for the 2013 season. Has a reputation for bringing out the best in mediocre discards, transforming them into above average players. Bellamy once again has Melbourne as the frontrunners for the title.
Newcastle – Wayne Bennett
Wayne does things his own way. He speaks with riddled tongue, if at all. Genuine Supercoach whose record speaks for itself. While 2012 has not been one of his best statistical returns, the Knights have been without their on-field general in Kurt Gidley for most of the season. With more recruits coming in 2013, Bennett’s plans may well be revealed at this time. Write off 2012 for the time being and only smile when you have wind, Wayne.
Parramatta – Stephen Kearney / Chris Anderson
The board may well say they give Kearney their total support and backing. This bloke has been too perplexed for mine. The way the team have been losing doesn’t appear to impact Steve. I understand he may be a Yoga freak, but for the sake of your supporters Steve, please show the losses are actually hurting.
Not sure if Anderson is the answer here either. Sure, Kearney and Opes don’t go out and miss the tackles, but the team is a rabble.
Officially contracted for the 2013 season, whether he serves out this contract, your guess is as good as mine.
Panthers – Ivan Cleary
See above for Stephen Kearney. Like the Eels, there appears to be more than on field performances being discussed at the foot of the mountains. Player unrest, a legend to leave the club, the Jennings saga, and general disharmony are not ingredients for on field success.
Funny how this boardroom mess was never evident prior to Gus taking the helm at Panferland. Gus likes Ivan and he was keenly recruited from across the ditch. Wonder how Steve Georgallis would have fared if given the chance.
This club has had some poor results on the back of high expectations in recent seasons. Cleary will be at the foot of the mountains until 2014, but I suspect he would have been better served back in Auckland
Sharks – Shane Flanagan
Had his contract upgraded this season on the back of pleasing performances. Prior coaches have left the club under acrimonious circumstances recently, however Flanno has bucked this trend and has the Sharkies set for finals action in 2012.
I am biased as I barrack for the Sharks, but with Flanagan at the helm there has been a major turnaround at Woolooware. This is a refreshing change from my perspective.
Will be with the Sharks for the 2014 season.
Souths – Michael Maguire
Another understudy now battling it out as head coach and performing well. Earned himself a good man manager reputation when with the Storm before heading off to the Old Dart and enjoying reasonable success. Maguire has brought to Souths a consistency which had been lacking as well as a more focused approach to defence.
Credible performance in a demanding role, Maguire will be with the Bunnies for the 2014 season and, on current performances, may be bringing some silverware to Redfern in this time.
St George Illawarra – Steve Price
Likeable, unassuming type of bloke who has one of if not the toughest gig in the game. Hard act following Bennett, I guess the expectations of Price may have been lowered somewhat. That said, the Dragons don’t take to mediocrity and the blow torch will be on to produce results.
Not sure if I am the only to notice, but I wonder if the sunglasses he wears are prescription or not. They seem to be capable of reflecting the sun at 50metres.
Price was assistant coach prior to taking the reins at the Dragons and this is a big opportunity. He would be delighted if he is capable of taking the club to at least a finals appearance in 2012, however his team’s attacking output has been lacking this season.
Has the 2013 season to prove himself or he may be on the lookout for alternate employment.
Roosters – Brain (deliberate spelling) Smith
This man presents as a bit of an odyssey. A head coach fixture for some time now, this man epitomises surrealism and abstract thought. Perhaps Brain would have been better served living in some commune in Nyngan where radical thought is encouraged.
I enjoy watching Braith Anasta’s expressions when sitting alongside at post match conferences. Whenever Brain opens his mouth, weird things can happen. Braith will not have to worry next season though as a youth policy has been adopted at Bondi Junction.
Brain himself is unsigned for next season so the program editors may be able to breathe easily about no extended benches pre game. Roosters are gonskis for 2012
Warriors – Brian McClennan
Has flown under the radar somewhat by those on this side of the ditch. McClennan has continued the Warriors’ success of last year as well as adding a consistency and steel to their play.
Impressive season to date and potentially bigger things to come. McClennan is secure in New Zealand for the 2013 season.
Wests Tigers – Tim Sheens
Ornament to the game and bordering on the elite Supercoach status. Been around the game for many years and is still developing his craft. Always produces teams with flair and innovation, Sheens has his Tigers in a precarious position at present. Much expected of the club preseason however, with injuries and interruptions, the Tigers are not assured of a finals place as yet.
Sheens has been able to disarm media rumblings regarding player disharmony with little fuss. A shrewd general, only a coach of Sheens’ calibre is capable of resurrecting the Tigers chances in 2012. Don’t write them off as yet.
Sheens will be at Concord for the 2014 season.
With a number of high profile coaches waiting in the wings, ex pats returning from England and the new breed of up and comers snapping at the heels, how do you rate your coach’s / team’s prospects?
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