2013 Dally M Coach of the Year could be NRL’s best ever

ScottWoodward.me Roar Guru

By ScottWoodward.me, ScottWoodward.me is a Roar Guru

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    Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has copped a huge fine for his spray at the NRL's refs - but he was right about one thing. (Image: AAP)

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    I met Trent Robinson at a café in 2010 and had no idea who he was or what he did. What I did know was that he was no mug and that he was decisive in his opinion about rugby league.

    I soon found out that the guy I had words with was Brian Smith’s assistant coach at the Roosters and he was in charge of defence.

    It was no surprise that the Roosters were the second best defensive team that year and went on to play the Dragons in the grand final, who were the best defensive team, eventually going down 32-8.

    Trent challenged me in a statement that I made in the café about a player and I rushed home to check it out only to find that the quietly spoken unassuming guy I had just met had gazumped me.

    You see, I don’t like being wrong on a subject that I pride myself on always trying to be correct, but I felt a little better when I found out that ‘Robbo’ had the advantage of aerial video. Hah, small consolation, but something I guess.

    You know when you meet someone and you know they are going places? Well that was the impression that Trent Robinson left me with but I didn’t expect that place would be France.

    Robbo was off to coach the Catalan Dragons and I followed his career as he took them from the bottom to play in the finals and achieve a 59 percent win rate with them.

    The astute Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis must have also had a footy chat with Robbo as he was impressed enough to offer him the head coaching position.

    At 35 he is the youngest in the NRL. Robbo became only the second rookie coach to win the Minor Premiership.

    There was never any doubt in my mind that Politis had taken a misplaced punt and come up with another Freddy Fittler, who turned out to be a fizzer with the clipboard, but to think that the Roosters could win the Minor Premiership and be odds on to win the NRL Premiership is a stunning achievement.

    Robbo will be named the Dally M Coach of the Year tonight but what I find amazing is that he has improved every one of his players and shown poor defenders how to buy into his system and prevent opposition tries.

    Robbo has at least three players in his named 17 each week who I consider borderline first graders, but he somehow finds a way to make them blend into his system and compliment the team.

    The second mistake I made with Robbo was to tell him before Round 1 this year that his veteran fullback Anthony Minichiello was “past it”.

    It is probably the only time that I have seen him animated and I am sure I noticed steam coming from his ears.

    I pointed out to the budding coach that last season’s top five teams had the top five fullbacks and that ‘Mini’ these days was not up to the level of Slater, Inglis, Barba, Brett Stewart and Dugan (Hayne was injured).

    Robbo appointed Mini as his captain and he has led the Roosters into this year’s grand final.

    Excuse me while I wipe the egg off my face.

    Robbo has shown that good defence is not just about the individual and his reputation.

    If you take each of the Roosters backline a strong runner like Greg Inglis would have little problem in running either through them or around them, but when they are supported by a teammate and they have ‘bought in’ to the Robbo system, then all of a sudden a poor defender starts to look rock solid.

    Let us take the Roosters left side as an example.

    Dan Tupou, Michael Jennings and James Maloney (leads the NRL in missed tackles) are all noted poor defenders, especially laterally, but the fact is that they have not been overly exposed all season that has led to opposition tries as the back rower, usually Boyd Cordner, runs shotgun for them.

    This is the same group that kept the star Manly attack to zero points on September 4.

    Manly get their gun fullback Brett Stewart back for the grand final, who was missing when his team went down four to nil only three weeks ago to the Roosters, but I for one won’t be telling Robbo that the result will be any different this time.

    I hate being gazumped.

    The New South Wales State of Origin team for the 2018 series remains a mystery, with new coach Brad Fittler facing plenty of selection headaches. So we want you to tell us - and all your mates - who should start for Blues in Game 1 with our team picker.

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    The Crowd Says (53)

    • October 1st 2013 @ 9:52am
      zedman said | October 1st 2013 @ 9:52am | ! Report

      Warren Ryan was a better tactical coach than Benny, Jack Gibson was innovative and had a pretty good roster. Ryans Newtown and Wests days tell a lot about his coaching nous .Benny needs the talent on the field,whereas the smart coaches come up with the tactics. .

      • Roar Guru

        October 1st 2013 @ 10:05am
        ScottWoodward.me said | October 1st 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        Bennett had brilliant tactics when the Knights outsmarted the Storm in Melb. and he did it with a very old forward pack.

    • October 1st 2013 @ 11:44am
      Zedman said | October 1st 2013 @ 11:44am | ! Report

      Scott I think we are seeing a fading Storm. They have struggled this year and have lost a bit of that arrogant aura the great teams carry.i just wonder have they prepared well enough for life without their stars,will Bellamy coach a struggling Storm—— I doubt it.

      • October 1st 2013 @ 9:05pm
        daniel p said | October 1st 2013 @ 9:05pm | ! Report

        Lol a fading storm with 2 60+ score lines for the year? Unfortunately we were expecting the fade out after the world cup victory

    • Roar Guru

      October 1st 2013 @ 12:01pm
      ScottWoodward.me said | October 1st 2013 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

      Bellamy will be coaching, YES.
      One of the key reasons why the Storm have been a big factor Since 1998 is because of their Front Office starting with John Ribot on day one to the Board they have today which is arguably the best in the NRL.
      No teams has gone back to back or won the WCC and then won the GF so the burn out factor was always going to be an issue.
      I expect them to go much better next year, but after that their challenge is to do what Hawthorn did with their ageing list.
      I doubt you will see this Board do what the Eels, the raiders, the Cowboys etc have done

      • October 1st 2013 @ 7:54pm
        peter said | October 1st 2013 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

        They had a few salary cap infringements in that time as well

    • October 1st 2013 @ 1:37pm
      Planko said | October 1st 2013 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

      Manly’s backline across the park is better and Toovey has no X factor like SBW. IMO that the Roosters looked most dangerous when SBW was playing pivot during SOO I think Robbo has buckled under pressure not to play him there …

    • Roar Guru

      October 1st 2013 @ 1:50pm
      ScottWoodward.me said | October 1st 2013 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

      Yes Manly do have a better back line and no one has a SBW but they do have a heap of X Factors.
      I have a different opinion to the Roosters 17 but it is hard to argue against anything that Robbo has done this year. It is no fluke he is MP his f & A is amazing.
      Yes SBW is the best pivot in the club but he is the best in just about any position.

    • October 1st 2013 @ 1:51pm
      Redback said | October 1st 2013 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

      The storm will make the 8 but they wont be premiership favourites at any stage next year. If Trent Robinson was coaching one of the bottom sides you would not be talking about him. The fact is he has the best squad in the comp.

      • Roar Guru

        October 1st 2013 @ 2:43pm
        ScottWoodward.me said | October 1st 2013 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

        Thats crap!
        Have you seen the squad at the Cowboys and the Broncos and the Titans?
        I have seen plenty of good lists not made it to the top 8 or 4.
        Go and look at the roosters For and Against, especially how many points they conceded and how many 40 mins they kept sides to zero.

        • October 2nd 2013 @ 10:57pm
          Knight Vision said | October 2nd 2013 @ 10:57pm | ! Report

          Scott, dont you think that they are one of the highest penalized for a reason? nullifying penalties in their own 40 they lead the comp. Nullifying as in the oppositions attack via , hands on the ball and markers not square etc. Gives them time to reset their defensive line. Lets hope they dont win the comp due to this and they get hit hard and someone binned.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 1st 2013 @ 6:57pm
        Garth Jones said | October 1st 2013 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

        I don’t know what list you are looking at. Looking at all the lists on paper at the start of the year I would’ve placed the Roosters around 8 – 10th. Even now I still don’t know how they won the minor premiership with their team and are in the grand final. The Roosters are a team I despise, for no particular reason I just do, but I give credit where credit is due and the coach and team have worked wonders this year. Hopefully next year they fall into a hole and the Panthers win another premiership (and the Central Coast Bears get admitted into the comp) but for now they are the team to beat.

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