Date: August 11 2012
NSW is set to appoint a non-NRL coach next season, with Canterbury's Des Hasler yesterday ruling himself out and Parramatta officials not expecting Ricky Stuart to change his mind.
A shift from the policy that excludes club coaches from taking charge of the Blues is under consideration after NSWRL directors asked chief executive Geoff Carr to contact all potential candidates.
Hasler, who steered Manly to victory in last year's grand final and has the Bulldogs on track for the minor premiership, had been touted as the first choice to replace Stuart after he withdrew from the job last weekend.
Some believe that if Stuart's actions prompt the NSWRL to change their stance on the dual coaching role then he should come back into consideration, while Gold Coast's John Cartwright has also been linked to the job.
However, Hasler recently told the Herald he believed the days of the NSW coach also being in charge of a club team were gone and Canterbury chief executive Todd Greenberg said his opinion hadn't changed.
''Des's views are the same as mine - it's too big a job for a head coach to do,'' Greenberg said.
Hasler has advised NSWRL officials of his decision and believes the NSW job is harder than coaching Queensland, who have a stand alone coach in Mal Meninga, as the Maroons have won seven series in succession and two of next year's three matches are in Brisbane.
After the Blues fell just short, losing 21-20 in this year's decider at Suncorp Stadium, Stuart felt he had unfinished business and was prepared to stay on in the Origin job after accepting a three-year offer from the Eels.
He shocked NSWRL officials when he advised Carr last Saturday he was withdrawing to concentrate on coaching Parramatta and Eels chief executive Bob Bentley said he did not envisage any change.
''Ricky has made his decision on that issue and has explained the reasons why he has made the decision on the NSW coaching role,'' Bentley said.
''Ricky has spoken to me about it and he is totally focused on coaching Parramatta. I don't see any reason why that will change.''
Cartwright, who was preparing for Gold Coast's game against Melbourne last night, said through a Titans official he had not given the NSW job any thought and wouldn't do so unless contacted by Carr.
However, Cartwright was assistant coach to Stuart in the opening game of last year's series but stood down to concentrate on his role with the Titans, who were in the midst of a form slump at the time, suggesting he would be unlikely to put his hand up for the top job.
Of the other club coaches, Manly's Geoff Toovey, South Sydney's Michael Maguire and St George Illawarra's Steve Price are in their first season in charge of an NRL team, Melbourne's Craig Bellamy did the job before Stuart and Cronulla is unlikely to have the resources to allow Shane Flanagan time away.
Penrith's Ivan Cleary and Newcastle's Wayne Bennett are one year into a rebuilding process at their clubs, Canberra's David Furner and Sydney Roosters' Brian Smith are under pressure to keep their jobs and Wests Tigers boss Tim Sheens is the Australian coach.
Dragons assistant Steve Folkes, who coached Canterbury for 11 seasons until 2008, has formally applied but is considered a long shot.
The Herald understands Stuart's assistants Trent Barrett and Jim Dymock are favourites as they were heavily involved in preparing the Blues for the past two series and have an intimate knowledge of the NSW Origin set-up.
Fellow former Blues stars, Brad Fittler and Laurie Daley, are also under consideration, but media commitments may affect their prospects, depending on which networks broadcast matches under the new television deal.
Fittler coached Sydney Roosters for two years, while Dymock was caretaker coach at Canterbury last season for the final eight matches after Kevin Moore was sacked, but Daley and Barrett have no NRL coaching experience.
Sheens yesterday said he did not see their inexperience as a factor that would work against them getting the job - or against the Blues should they take on a young coach.
''Ricky Stuart was a young coach, we've all been young coaches and got an opportunity,'' Sheens added.
''To say that you need an experienced coach isn't necessarily correct either. Mal Meninga wasn't experienced at that level as a coach when he took over.
''There's plenty of guys. The candidates that have been thrown up have all had experience at that level, as in playing, and I'm sure any one of those guys will do a good job.''
This material is subject to copyright and any unauthorised use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.
[ Canberra Times | Text-only index]