SYDNEY ROOSTERS today appointed Trent Robinson as their coach for the next three years.
Robinson, a former assistant coach at the club, is currently coaching French club Catalan Dragons in the English Super League. It is understood he had another year to run on his contract there, but he has obviously negotiated a release.
The Roosters sacked Brian Smith as coach on Wednesday with a year left to run on his contract. The team has had two poor seasons in a row after making the grand final under Smith in 2010. Robinson was an assistant coach to Smith that year and left at the end of it to start with Catalans.
Robinson has long held an ambition to coach in the NRL and now he will realise that. There had been speculation about Smith's future for a number of weeks before the Roosters sacked him, and presumably the club's management had identified Robinson as a possible alternative well ahead of this week in case they decided to move on Smith.
The appointment of Robinson ends speculation about whether the Roosters would have gone in hard to try to sign Craig Bellamy as coach for 2014 and beyond. Bellamy remains contracted to Melbourne until the end of next season. The Roosters were considering whether to appoint a stop-gap coach for next year and gamble on signing Bellamy after that, but have obviously decided that was too risky.
There was no chance of Bellamy coming to the Roosters a year early. Storm chief executive Ron Gauci said in today's Herald that Bellamy would be staying next season and that the Storm were keen to extend his deal.
Catalan are headed for the Super League finals, so Robinson will head back to Australia when their campaign is over.
The Roosters issued a media release this afternoon, which pointed out that Robinson, in his first season with Catalans, had taken the team from last the previous season to sixth and was named Super League Coach of the Year, and that the team was well-placed to ''go all the way'' this season.
The release continued: ''Roosters Chairman Nick Politis was enthusiastic about the appointment.
''We are extremely pleased that Trent will be joining the Roosters after agreeing to terms for the next three years. We believe that he is the ideal candidate to take the Roosters forward with regard to what we aim to achieve in terms of success,'' said Mr Politis.
''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.
''We wish Trent well with the Catalan Dragons finals campaign and look forward to welcoming him back to the Sydney Roosters ahead of the commencement of the club's 2013 pre-season.''
A player in the Roosters' junior ranks from 1995-1998, Robinson's coaching career began with France's Toulouse Olympique in 2005. He was assistant coach with the Newcastle Knights from 2007-2009 before joining the Roosters in 2010 as the assistant coach in charge of defence.