I can understand why New Zealand Warriors fans are a bit worried right now.
After watching another disasterous season with a disasterous coach at the helm and knowing they actually have a very good lineup that can go places with the right leadership, they keep hearing some worrying names being tossed in their direction.
The likes of Stephen Kearney, David Kidwell and Justin Morgan have been mentioned in recent weeks which is enough to make anyone cry into their Kava. There have been some promising signs though, with the club opening saying they will make a Godfather offer to Craig Bellemy and suggesting at the very least that they want a high proifle, big name coach.
The problem is….few of them are available….
Brian Smith was sacked by the Sydney Roosters and there are suggestions that the Wests Tigers would let Tim Sheens walk if he was offered a coaching job elsewhere. The big question is, would either of them be a good fit for the Warriors?
Smith has a history of coming into a new club and pulling them into shape pretty quickly. The problem is that Smith has never been able to get over the hump of winning a Premiership, and he tends to take teams to a certain level of success, and then everything goes downhill pretty quickly from there.
Sheens I think is one of the great minds the game has ever had. When you look at how long ago his career started, you look at all the differen’t era’s he has coached though, and that he has won Premierships with two different clubs, the Tigers 2005 Premiership being a masterful coaching effort, there is no question he is still a very good coach.
There are question marks over both men, but I think both could be a good fit for the Warriors for different reasons.
With Smith, I think he would be the ideal short term coach. If the Warriors knew they could get Craig Bellemy in 2014 there is no one better than Brian Smith to fill in for that one year. The problem you’d probably have is convincing Smith to take that job. Move to New Zealand for one year, get the team back on an even keel again, and then leave and let someone else cash in on the success. I can see many coaches at all being willing to take that role, especially someone with the long career Smith has had.
Sheens would be the coach to sign if the Warriors want someone over the long term. Convincing him to move from Sydney to Auckland would be tough, but if the money is right, the talent is certainly there. Many feel that Sheens coaching style at the Tigers is exactly what the Warriors need. he has shown he is willing to try a few different thinks and not be hamstrung by making sure all the statistics check out first before letting his team try something.
At the Warriors, Sheens would be working with a big, brutal forward pack. In my opinion is was the lack of size and go forward from the Tigers pack that has really held them back in recent years. The competition evolved well beyond a level that would allow a small mobile pack to succeed. If anything we are in the era of very big, mobile, powerful forward packs. The Tigers just couldn’t compete up front.
At a new club and with different personell, I have no doubt Sheens can adapt his coaching style to fit in with the roster the Warriors have. There is also the luxury of a ridiculously rich talent pool to draw from that any coach would love to work with.
The wildcard in all of this for me come from somewhere you wouldn’t expect.
With Nathan Tinkler being hit with lawsuits left, right and center from companies that are alledging he has not paid them money they are owed, Newcastle Knights fans should be worried.
While the Knights will never fold and the new boradcasting deal means that the ARL has the financial capacity to make sure the Knights, owner or not, wouldn’t miss a beat, there is one area I think would be concerning them.
Wayne Bennett is in Newcastle because Nathan Tinkler was willing to pay him more money than any other club out of his own pocket. As a club, the Knights could never afford to pay Bennett’s massive salary.
Wayne Bennett will be reading these reports about Tinklers financial issues, and while I’m sure he has been given many assurances about his own financial security, I don’t think Bennett would be completely unwilling to listen to offers from other clubs that he knew were not dealing with similar financial issues. If the Warriors ownership went to Bennett, offered him a big deal and maybe threw an extra year on the end of it, he would HAVE to consider it.
Bennett’s deal in Newcastle is only worthwhile as long as he is getting paid. If he ends up being one of the people wondering why he hasn’t got his money yet, I have no doubt he would walk for more security.
Are the Warriors willing to push for that though? It was be a ballsy thing to do. I doub’t Bennett would want to be seen to be walking out on the Knights but, principals don’t pay the bills.
I think the Warriors will get their big name. I think it will be Tim Sheens. The good thing for Warriors fans is that their owners have the fiancial clout to make big things happen and the side if full of talent just waiting for the right coach.
It’s not a bad position to be in!
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com