The Sydney Roosters have announced that Catalan Dragons coach Trent Robinson join the club starting next season on what is a three year deal.
Robinson was previously an assistant coach under Brian Smith in 2010 and linked up with the Catalan Dragons in 2011. He has done OK with the Dragons and his ability to speak French apparently goes down well with the locals over there.
It is a gamble by the Roosters. They have spent up big for the 2013 season and now go into it with a rookie coach that is completely unteasted at a high level. His long contract probably also means that the Roosters are no longer going to be looking to sign Craig Bellemy unless they put a clause in Robinson’s contract that allows them to get out from underneath it at a cheap price.
I don’t really rate Robinson all that highly as a coach. Yes he’s done OK at the Dragons but it is hardly like they have set Super League alight. It seems like coaches of the Dragons have been a bit unique to their situation as a French club. They have played their best football under coaches that are willing to work with French Rugby League’s way of going about things rather than trying to form the Dragons on a model that you would have in say Australia.
Their most successful time in Super League was under coach Michael Potter. He eventually left them on a big deal to coach St Helens and the results just did not follow him at all. He eventually moved on to the Bradford Bulls, where once again results were poor and where he is now coaching for free as they club can not afford to pay him!
So success at the Catalan Dragons doesn’t exactly translate into pure coaching talent, and even then, Robinson has the Dragons winning but they are not doing anything special. It is going to be very interesting to see how he goes in the NRL because the record of most Super League coaches starting their careers in Super League and then coming back to the NRL is nothing short of disasterous.
Even this year, Super League Grand Final winner Brian McClennan’s NRL career lasted all of 24 games as he took the New Zealand Warriors into one of the most dramatic downward spirals I can ever remember. He was just completely out of his depth in the NRL, as are most Super League coaches that return.
Michael Maguire is really the only one I can think of that you could consider to be a success. He went to Wigan knowing he would be back, he won a Super League title with Wigan, changed the way they played the game over there, and then announced he was coming back to coach the South Sydney Rabbitohs this year.
As for other coaches that got their start in Super League and come back to the NRL….I think the next most successful one is probably Matthew Elliott….which says a LOT!
The Roosters have rolled the dice now. They will be hoping they don’t come up with snake eyes.
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Jan 20, 2020 0