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.

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    The Crowd Says (53)

    • October 1st 2013 @ 2:04pm
      maximillian said | October 1st 2013 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

      What about Bennett for coach of the year? He took an average team with an ageing roster to within a game of the GF.

      His tactics in the semi against the Storm were brilliant in attacking their edges early & was a big reason why they won. Also his misdirection last week about the speculation on him leaving the Knights was a classic way to deflect attention off his team & onto himself before their biggest game of the year.

      I thought he got the most out of an average team so he should get a lot of credit for that.

      • Roar Guru

        October 1st 2013 @ 2:45pm
        ScottWoodward.me said | October 1st 2013 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

        He over achieved no doubt.
        I thought he stuffed up letting his young left wing go to penrith. I think he is a gun.

    • October 1st 2013 @ 2:04pm
      Renegade said | October 1st 2013 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

      Robinson is a shoe-in for coach of the year however it’s ridiculously premature to start throwing the “greatest” tag around.

      Kevin Moore did well in his first year with a good squad as well…. yet he never coached again once the dogs dropped him.

      I’d like to see how Robbo goes in a few years or how he would go with a roster like that of Parramatta.

    • Roar Guru

      October 1st 2013 @ 2:52pm
      ScottWoodward.me said | October 1st 2013 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

      Robbos big strength is defence and the Eels let in 740 points coached by the Telegraphs “games best mind” while the Roosters let in 325 points.
      Yep I think they would have gone much better.
      But you are correct, it is too early but if you had downloaded ny NRL ebook prior to round 1 you would have seen that I already rated Robbo highly and that was based solely on talking to him and what he did in the UK.
      I am prepared to say he is special and is the next Craig Bellamy.
      BTW, I think Kev Moore was terminated prematurely.

    • October 1st 2013 @ 2:56pm
      Johnno said | October 1st 2013 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

      It’s almost 3pm and no mention of Tim Sheens.

      • Roar Guru

        October 1st 2013 @ 5:10pm
        ScottWoodward.me said | October 1st 2013 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

        Tim had the Tigers for 7 years and never replaced Scott Prince, massive error.

    • October 1st 2013 @ 3:57pm
      Planko said | October 1st 2013 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

      Scott then who are you backing Manly at 2.25 ?

      • Roar Guru

        October 1st 2013 @ 5:12pm
        ScottWoodward.me said | October 1st 2013 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

        Members of ChampionProfits are already on them at $7.0 but I will not finalise my Staking Plan until around Thurs. To be honest I am not sure how our book will look just yet.

        • October 1st 2013 @ 6:38pm
          Nomad said | October 1st 2013 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

          Is this the best ever column?? Sub editors fantasy…

          • Roar Guru

            October 1st 2013 @ 8:29pm
            ScottWoodward.me said | October 1st 2013 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

            What your problem? I was asked a question and gave the honest answer.

    • October 1st 2013 @ 8:24pm
      Sham said | October 1st 2013 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

      Great article and analysis. One way to think about how good a coach is how good he goes at a range of clubs. This is important as the more analytical management literature suggests that sometimes a manager looks good when he or she isn’t that flash. It is sometimes called the halo effect,. The same can apply to school principals as it can be easier to look good at a good school, One way to really test someone is to see how they go in different situations.

      Bennett’s standing is even higher now that he has proven himself at four clubs if you include the raiders in 87. Warren Ryan proved himself at several clubs as has Brian Smith albeit without winning a comp.

      I suspect that Bellamy would do very at another club as well but we may never know. In a way he has been tested given that he has succeeded at the storm after they had to lose some of their best players.

      • Roar Guru

        October 1st 2013 @ 8:35pm
        ScottWoodward.me said | October 1st 2013 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

        He has more than been tested. He is the best coach I have ever studied and I base that on several things like:
        * How he improves journey men that no one wanted
        * How he can get a player to lose a bad habit. eg Ryles dropping the ball.
        *He never went out and bought a star always developed his own
        * averages under 10 mistakes a game in his teams, amazing
        * always brilliant defence
        * brilliantly exploits any new rule better than anyone, especially the wrestle.

        • October 1st 2013 @ 9:19pm
          Johnno said | October 1st 2013 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

          A blight on Belleamy’s record is he could never beat a QLD origin side riddled with superstars eg Inglis,Folau,Cronk,Cameron Smith,Billy Slater, Petro,Sam Thaiday,Matt Scott,. He wasn’t good enough to coach the likes of Mitchell Pearce, Peter Wallace,Mick Ennis, and the Blues front row to topple those guys. So he is no magician, or genuis, where as wayne bennett was able to get the 2008 kiwis to beat that 2008 Aussy side in the world cup final.

          • Roar Guru

            October 2nd 2013 @ 11:05am
            ScottWoodward.me said | October 2nd 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            Plz…………..NZ beating Aust in 2008 was a flum try by Benjy and also poor coaching by Stuart.

        • October 2nd 2013 @ 8:09am
          steve waters said | October 2nd 2013 @ 8:09am | ! Report

          then why isnt he on the best coach list with Bennett and Ryan, at least above Gould..

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