There is no doubting Ricky Stuart is one of the top five coaches in the game today. His coaching record speaks for itself.
So why then have the Roosters effectively got rid of Stuart (The official line is that both parties split by mutual agreement), the coach who took them to their first Grand Final win since the 1970’s?
Ricky Stuart is a very intense coach. He was a great player and he expects nothing less than 100% from his players every time they take the field.
In recent player polls run by Rugby League Week aover the last couple of years Stuart has been one of the top vote getters as one of the coaches players WOULD NOT like to play under.
I would suggest this has less to do with his coaching ability and more to do with the excellence he demands from his players.
In 2005 the Roosters side looked tired and worn down to me. They looked like they needed a break. They had been deep into the finals for a number of seasons and even had to take part in the World Club Challenge in 2003, an exhibition game that takes its toll on the defending NRL premiers.
Ontop of that, many Roosters players had also been taking part in either Test series or the State Of Origin series during the course of the Stuart years. Players like Anthony Minichiello and Craig Wing have gone for a number of years without a full off season.
In my personal opinion I think Stuarts coaching and intensity took its toll on the Roosters lineup. Im not saying that its right or wrong. Im not saying what Stuart was doing was a bad thing, I want a coach at my club to be pushing the side every week. I just think for this Roosters team, it was too much, and their performance suffered.
One also has to point the finger of blame at the Roosters management.
Stuart took the club to Grand Final success in 2002, A Grand Final loss to the Panthers in 2003 and a Grand FInal loss to the Bulldogs in 2004. Granted 2005 was a poor season and 2006 has been a shocker, but who honestly believes that Stuart is not capable of taking the Roosters back to the 2007 Finals if given a decent squad?
Some of the moves made by the Roosters over the course of the last few years have been kneejerk to say the least. One of the major ones that sticks out in my mind is the signing of Amos Roberts from the Penrith Panthers.
Roberts had an outstanding season for Penrith and The Panthers were looking to retain a player who’s career seemed all but over 12 months earlier when Penrith threw him a lifeline. But the Roosters swooped in and made a huge offer….for a winger.
Now granted, Amos is a bloody good winger, but you dont spent big money on wingers. So the Roosters got Amos and had to give up other players in the process, like Jason Cayless.
Not a bright idea.
Then we had the saga involving Brett Finch.The Roosters publicaly come out and refuted rumours Finch was being shopped around clubs…rumours no one had heard until the Roosters come out with them. Finch was hung out to dry as these rumours flared up. The Roosters then finally said they would not be shopping Finch around…and a few days later Finch was confirmed as a Parramatta Eel from 2007 onwards.
A similar thing has happened to Stuart. The rumours started up, and then Stuart was given the flick.
I really do hope the coaching box for the Roosters next coach isnt made out of wood, because with all the white anting going on at that club, no one can be assured of any sort of support, no matter how good they are.
Good luck to Ricky Stuart, Im sure he will be on a big money deal at a top rated NRL or Super League club very soon.