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Robinson returns to rule the Roosters

AFTER being linked with the more expensive Craig Bellamy, Sydney Roosters have banked on Trent Robinson - a coach who will start next season way down the payment ladder in the NRL.

But it wasn't a case of the club looking to save money, the Roosters have never been afraid to spend. They were just looking for the right man - and that proved to be Robinson.

He was a Roosters assistant coach under Brian Smith in 2010, when the team made the grand final, before leaving to coach Catalans Dragons in Super League. He has turned that club around remarkably, taking them from last place the previous season to sixth last year and fourth approaching this year's finals.

The Herald has learnt that, for Robinson, coming back wasn't about money, it was about opportunity. He has always wanted to coach first grade in the NRL, and now he will get the chance on a three-year contract.

It is understood his annual base salary is somewhere in the $240,000 to $260,000 range but there are incentive clauses that could double it if the Roosters were to win the grand final.

Robinson is prepared to back himself to do well, and the management at the Roosters is confident he will succeed. The appointment has been well received by the Roosters players, who had a high opinion of him when he was at the club previously.


Smith, who was sacked by the Roosters on Wednesday, has mentored Robinson. He coached him at Parramatta and later had him on his coaching staff at Newcastle and then the Roosters. Asked for his reaction to the Robinson appointment, Smith told the Herald via a text message: ''Spoke to Trent. Very pleased for him and the club.''

There had been speculation about Smith's future for several weeks, and it is clear now that the club had identified Robinson as a possible alternative some time ago.

The appointment of Robinson ends speculation about whether the Roosters would have gone in hard to try to sign Bellamy, the Melbourne coach, for 2014 and beyond. He is contracted to the Storm until the end of next season, and there was no chance of Bellamy leaving early.

It is understood the club only fleetingly considered a stop-gap coach idea before deciding it was fraught with danger. The club did its due diligence, but was concerned about the sort of money top-flight coaches are demanding.

''Trent is excited about the opportunity,'' Roosters chief executive Steve Noyce said yesterday. ''He is someone with ability who is looking to come here and deliver results. We've come up with what is the best solution for the Roosters.''

In a statement issued by the Roosters, chairman Nick Politis said he believed Robinson was ''the ideal candidate to take the Roosters forward with regard to what we aim to achieve in terms of success''.

''Trent was a key contributor to the Roosters' success in 2010, and while he is still a relatively young coach, he already has pedigree and experience gained over his time as an assistant coach in the NRL and as a head coach in the Super League,'' he added.

The Roosters players welcomed Robinson's appointment via Twitter.

''So pumped to have Robbo back as @sydneyroosters head coach next year. Bring on 2013 - Can't wait,'' tweeted prop Martin Kennedy.

Back-rower Tinirau Arona added: ''Congrats to our new Head Coach Robbo. Looking forward to working with him again and I know the other boys are too.''

Robinson will return to Sydney once Catalan's season is over.