BROWNIE: Experience counts for everything in coaching
NSW assistant coach Laurie Daley hugs Andrew Johns after winning game 2 of the State of Origin at Telstra Stadium - the last time NSW beat Queensland in 2003 (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) (File Photo)
It’s been an interesting week in NRL coaching circles, with one coach given the shove from his club and another given the reigns of the NSW team without having coached at club level yet.
I feel sorry for Brian ‘Bluey’ McClennan.
He’s a better coach than this season at the Warriors has suggested and his failings are probably more a case of mitigating circumstances than an inability to handle the intensity of the NRL grind.
Remember, Bluey was the first Kiwi coach to win the Tri Series, which led to him getting the Leeds job, where he was very successful in winning three grand finals im four years.
Michael Maguire’s wonderful first season at Souths shows that it’s not that big a leap for a successful coach to go from the English premiership to the NRL and replicate that success.
Further compounding Bluey’s problems were injuries to senior players, which meant that he was forced to blood a lot of youngsters who weren’t able to close out a number of tight matches that they could easily have won.
It might be difficult to imagine it now, but they’ll be better for the experience they got this season.
And it’s naive to say McClennan isn’t a good coach. He is, and he’s proven it in a number of different competitions over the years. No matter what happened at the Warriors, that impressive record can never be taken away.
On the other hand, Laurie Daley is pretty much starting his top level coaching career in the toughest cauldron imaginable: State of Origin.
But I think his appointment was the right decision.
Daley has been a part of successful NSW sides, many of them as captain. What’s more, he’s had years as an assistant coach in both Origin and club football.
His experience as a player in an era of NSW sides that dominated Queensland will be invaluable. He knows the Ricky and Gus Origin approach well and will continue on with some of the stuff Ricky’s done, as well as bring in some of his own ideas.
Someone like Daniel Anderson as assistant would bring a great wealth of experience, which is invaluable in any walk of life.
It’s crucial to have a first-hand understanding of what makes Origin players tick: one, knowing what players suit Origin and, two, knowing what style works. Laurie understands this through many years of Origin experience.
It’s such a different approach to the daily NRL grind.
If you look at the most successful clubs in the sporting world, they tend not to change their coaches over long periods of time – despite the inevitable ups and downs that every club goes through.
The NRL is a good example.
Look at Manly, the Storm, and Brisbane: they don’t change their structure at the top too much, which has lead to them being successful for long periods of time over the past 15 years.
On the other hand, the Roosters have changed coaches 3 times in 9 years or so and missed the playoffs too often.
Sometimes it doesn’t go great early on, but you need to go through the processes and come out the other end all the stronger for it, as the Roosters will prove next year.