Where are the plaudits for Trent Robinson?
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson. His leaf blower is just out of shot. (Image: AAP)
While match-winner Sonny Bill Williams has been hailed as everything from the second coming to a cold-blooded mercenary nobody, and I mean nobody, has taken time out to recognise coach Trent Robinson’s superb role in the Roosters’ premiership success.
At the start of the season Robinson was ‘Trent who?’.
Today he basks in the success sunshine with only five others who have coached a premiership winning side in their rookie year.
Ian Walsh (St George 1966), Leo Nosworthy (Balmain 1969) Phil Gould (Bulldogs 1988), Michael Hagan (Knights 2001), Ricky Stuart (Roosters 2002), and Trent Robinson (Roosters 2013).
The elite of the elite, and don’t ever try to underestimate the importance of a winning coach.
Those six aren’t in the same league as Wayne Bennett’s seven premierships, Jack Gibson’s five, or Tim Sheens’ four.
Give Robinson time, and he has that well and truly on his side at 36 years of age.
But that doesn’t answer the question why he’s been virtually ignored – even by fanatical Roosters fans.
Before the finals series, Robinson had chalked up an 18-win season from 24 games, amassing 640 points for (the Storm the next-best with 589) and allowing 325 against (Manly the next best with 360).
The Roosters points differential – plus 315 – was well ahead of Manly’s 222.
Unstinted praise for Trent Robinson?
Hardly a peep.
The Roosters fans were even dead-set quiet when Robinson became the youngest winner of the Dally M Coach of the Year award.
Now he’s the silent Premiership winner.
What has Trent Robinson got to do to get some recognition from the Bondi faithful?
Robinson has ticked every conceivable box, yet praise for him is a deafening silence.
Admittedly, fans can be very fickle in any sport, but the lack of respect shown for Trent Robinson borders on an embarrassment.
Just the opposite for Sonny Bill Williams.
There’s been a line drawn in the sand. On one side there are the Roosters fans waxing lyrical, the other side the mounting army of fans who want to take SBW to the cleaners.
There’s a fair smack of that. The vast majority of anti-SBWs would dearly love to have him on their roster, but won’t admit it.
The cop out is to knife him publicly, just to vent their frustration.
That’s like water off a duck’s back to SBW, especially as he will return to rugby next season with the Chiefs so he can qualify for the All Blacks for the 2015 London-based Rugby World Cup.
Then there’s the inaugural Sevens in Rio at the 2016 Olympics, where SBW will be an automatic selection.
So everything SBW touches at the moment turns to gold.
Two NRL premierships with the Bulldogs and the Roosters, a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs, and a Rugby World Cup gold medal.
Still to come, another Super Rugby title with the Chiefs, another Rugby World Cup gold medal, and the icing on the cake – an Olympic gold medal with the Kiwis in Rio.
Nothing in rugby league can match those milestones. SBW has gone from the 13-man code until at least 2017, if not forever.
In the meantime, Trent Robinson will have to overcome the loss of his inspirational Sonny Bill Williams as he pieces together his 2014 campaign.
That’s a huge hole to fill, but Robinson has proved he has what it takes to succeed.
But it will be a whole lot easier if he has the verbal, and the physical, support of his quiet-as-a-mouse Roosters fans.
He deserves nothing less.