It was the result no one saw coming, and in retrospect, shook up the whole 2018 finals series.
Recent events prove coaches can no longer be trusted. Especially the rookies, saviours, fathers, and any situation Wayne Bennett needs an extension from someone he doesn’t talk to.
The coaching carousel has shown they only possess one valuable trait: a keen focus on future planning. That’s future planning to be somewhere else, preferably last month.
Here are a few examples of honouring ‘ironclad contracts’:
We’ve seen the bungled exit of Ivan Cleary from the Tigers, with the originally-tired former Panthers coach returning to Penrith to complete “unfinished business”, which I can only presume is the reversal of the aging process.
His departure proved again there are two types of coaches in rugby league: those who’ve been sacked, and those waiting to spend no more than 23 months at Wests Tigers.
Sure, the Tigers eventually nabbed their man in Michael Maguire – who was given the nod after extensive background checks revealed he didn’t have any sons in first grade – but it is no coincidence that ever since Cleary departed, everything has crumbled in the universe.
Balmain Leagues has gone into receivership, the Sydney property market has fallen down, and Benny Elias has spoken up. The fans deserves something better, like industrial deafness.
Then there was Anthony Seibold, who didn’t appear tired despite a year subjected to Russell Crowe.
He signed with Brisbane after earning the right to snap contracts by building nine strong months of credit at the top level.
Seibold replaced Bennett after the supercoach begrudgingly left the Broncos, despite agitating for a leave pass all year by leaking like a redneck’s gas cylinder.
Bennett then linked with Souths because it was the perfect fit to stir up some shit, with the club making the announcement via a statement confirming he was “proud and humbled to have the Rabbitohs as his fallback option”.
While an appointment of convenience and spite, Bennett will finally oversee the club he first dreamed of coaching as a teenager when it was founded in 1908.
Then there is Manly, who are so goddamn terrified of what the carousel will do, they’ve signed themselves two coaches.
While this is all excellent fun that makes the stable clubs seems like killjoys, the fans should be treated with more respect. Except for Broncos fans, then it’s just plain funny.
What is Todd Greenberg going to do about these endless coaching orgies, the greatest danger to the game since quiet off-seasons?
Unfortunately, gross inter-organisational free-for-alls will rage on until the NRL introduces some kind of anti-tampering law, one with a view to punish the itchy feet of middle-aged men like a landslide divorce settlement.
Naturally, this law will take a lot of time and collaboration, because it’s the NRL.
With it difficult getting the word out it’s not okay to touch other people’s stuff, everyone should get comfortable with more repeated assurances over job security, just like the ones we always get from the Prime Minister’s office.
In the meantime, with the clubs just as guilty, I would recommend coaches find an income from somewhere other than coaching until this law is introduced. Just like Trent Barrett has.
Until then, should both continue to dangerously collaborate in this environment, they should be under no illusions they run the risk of courting Dave Furner or the referees unit.