Barely five weeks into this year’s NRL season and intrigue and imbroglio are running rampant – not least, within the coaching ranks.
Rumour and innuendo continue to percolate within a landscape about as stable as quicksand. Recently it’s been Wayne Bennett, Jason Taylor, Ivan Cleary and Des Hasler making the headlines. Next week, who knows?
Enough early dust has settled for us to do a little bit of crystal balling and nominate what will be the single most impressive coaching feat for 2017.
Nathan Brown lifting the Newcastle Knights from the wooden spoon to ninth position
Last year, Brown tried some pretty radical moves in order to combat his team’s limited ability; most notably being his instruction to the team to not tackle in order to conserve energy. As a result, his players look incredibly fit this year.
The Knights are already showing signs of improvement and with some welcome additions to their roster, they’re an outside chance of moving off the bottom of the table. If Brown could get them to be hovering around the eight this year, I for one would be letting out a low whistle in acknowledgement.
Ivan Cleary taking Wests Tigers into the top eight
I might be jumping the gun here, but it seems a fait accompli that Ivan Cleary will be coaching the Tigers this year. Apparently, Cleary’s manager called him and told him to look up ‘basketcase’ in the dictionary, where he was confronted with a team photo of the 2017 Tigers.
If Cleary can get this talented but undisciplined, sporadic-tackling, easily distracted group of young men into the eight this year, he’ll be in line for a Dally M.
Another fun weekend of NRL finals saw Manly and Penrith move through to the preliminary finals to face South Sydney and Melbourne respectively. Plenty happened that needs backing over – here are your talking points from the semi-finals.