The Roar
The Roar


Are armchair critics fair to write off these NRL coaches?

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Roar Rookie
11th February, 2019
1259 Reads

It seems lots of NRL fans are convinced that a few coaches just aren’t made of the right stuff and won’t be leading their troops to a title this season or in the future.

Surely most of these coaches have bosses who think they can lead them to a title, so who is correct?

Stephen Kearney, New Zealand Warriors
Kearney has a 35 per cent win rate in the NRL but is the only Kiwi coach to defeat Australia five times. He just doesn’t have the roster this year.

Ivan Cleary, Penrith Panthers
He has a 47 per cent win rate in a long NRL career but is perceived as a rebuilding type of coach rather than a title-winner. He has the roster and is a good chance of proving his critics wrong in the next few years. The Panthers seem to be injury-prone, and a healthy year could end up with them holding the trophy.

Nathan Brown, Newcastle Knights
Brown has a 53 per cent win rate with a strong Saints roster and 21 per cent win rate with a weaker Knights outfit. The management of the club must have seen something they like to keep him on despite a collection of wooden spoons. Ponga is the best player in the competition and should lead them to a title with Brown in charge. Surely they must fire this season.

Ricky Stuart, Canberra Raiders
Stuart has a 49 per cent career winning rate. He had a huge start to his career at the Chooks with a title in 2002 but most years since then have been grim. Ricky has a coaching trademark with the Raiders, just like McGregor has his strong mid-season fade-out at the Dragons – the Raiders are well known for blowing matches they have in the bag, and the coach has to wear most of the blame.

Once again the Raiders have a strong team, and while a title isn’t likely, it’s not impossible either. It won’t happen unless they find some top-class halves or at least one certified champion in the halves.


Brad Arthur, Parramatta Eels
Arthur has a 45 per cent NRL career winning rate. The Eels seem pretty light-on for talent and surely aren’t much of a threat this year. It’s a hard club to work out, and both player and coaches seem to enter the vicinity with a spring in their step but emerge a few years later with their career in tatters. For Arthur to win a title from where the club sits now would be a huge achievement, but it’s not very likely.

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Have I missed anyone? Am I wrong in my reading of fan opinion? Maybe it’s only a vocal minority who rate these coaches as a bit on the average side.