SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Dragons coach Paul McGregor talks to the media at a press conference following the round 14 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Bankwest Stadium on August 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Dragons coach Paul McGregor talks to the media at a press conference following the round 14 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Bankwest Stadium on August 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

FROM THE GRANDSTAND: Who’d be a coach?

THIS season has seen the biggest turnover of coaches in NRL history. So far we have had four (Warriors, Cowboys, Bulldogs and Dragons) and there could well be another on the way at the Brisbane Broncos.

To me it has all seemed a bit of an overreaction. Boards or CEOs seem to be looking for a quick fix and think if we change the coach we will get better performances. It’s not that simple is it?

The famous Jack Gibson used to say that a coach should only stay at a club for three years. He did that at Parramatta leading them to consecutive premierships and could have had a lifetime appointment but he chose to move away.

Stephen Kearney was stood down as coach of New Zealand Warriors in June. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
Stephen Kearney was stood down as coach of New Zealand Warriors in June. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

For instance I think the Cowboys became quite stale in the way they have played the last few years and this is despite the fact Green took them to a premiership. They need a change.

First and foremost a coach (and club) must have the ‘cattle’ (players). No club has become premiers with an average side and that includes having a good run with injuries which may in fact be the reason the Roosters don’t get the threepeat they probably deserve.

Look at Wayne Bennett and the Brisbane Broncos. He had an almost representative list to choose from and could even afford to offload the great Wally Lewis because of the surfeit of talent at his disposal. Great coach that he is, every time he has won he had a good list. The Dragons in 2010 were no different but he struggled with the Knights in the following years and even when he returned to Brisbane.

You do have to respect the work Craig Bellamy has done with Melbourne. They have hardly had a failure and so many average players have gone there and improved. Mind you, he was blessed with the ‘fab four’ in the heyday. The players and coach have contributed to each other’s fame and fortune. All the time they were evolving.

Head coach Justin Holbrook looks on during a Gold Coast Titans NRL training session at the Titans High Performance Centre on May 11, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Head coach Justin Holbrook looks on during a Gold Coast Titans NRL training session at the Titans High Performance Centre on May 11, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

On the local scene, the Gold Coast Titans seem to be on the improve. Coach Justin Holbrook proved himself in the British Super League and this appointment would always challenge him as it has done for every coach (for a variety of sports) on the coast. He seems to be making good progress and has culled some dead wood as well as attracting future stars. Time will tell but the cattleyard is looking better and that’s a start.

Every year the NRL has only four sides in the top four. Similarly there will always be four sides in the bottom four. Simply changing the coach is not going to suddenly lift their position on the ladder.

I’m waiting to see if any board of directors will sack themselves or stand down. Don’t hold your breath.