Fittler Out, Smith In And A Lot Of Noses Out Of Joint

Talk about something coming from out of the blue!

If you haven’t hear yet, Brad Fittler will be relieved of his coaching duties at the Sydney Roosters at the end of this season and he will be replaced by Newcastle’s current coach Brian Smith.

This all happened so quickly that Knights players found out via a text message!

I can understand the Roosters getting rid of Fittler, they needed a change and it all just wasn’t working. I think he has potential to be a great coach, but I think the days of a player walking off the field and straight into the coaching box are over.

As for Smith, well….where do you start?

Smith wanted more job security and he wanted to move back to Sydney. The Newcastle Knights management brought him in to do a dirty job, and he really turned the club around so well.

The clubs board however was not rock solid when it come to his contract extension, they offered him one, but it wasn’t the iron clad commitment he really deserved.

That coupled with a bigger, longer term offer from the Roosters, and it looks like it was all enough to see him walk away from the Knights just as they look ready to step up to contender status.

I have to say, I don’t like it.

I like Smith, I think he is an amazing coach who’s record speaks for itself. What he has done in Newcastle is a miracle. He took a club with a pub team attitude and made them a slick, professional outfit with a heap of depth.

One thing Brian Smith is terrific at is getting his side physically ready to play. You watch the Roosters, in a season and a half from now they will look bigger, stronger and more athletic.

The problem I see for his is that the Roosters don’t play to his strengths.

Smith changes a club from the ground up. At St George, Parramatta and Newcastle, he got rid of the old players and used their great junior bases to bring in talent and add depth.

The Roosters don’t have a junior base at all.

That is going to make it a challenge for Smith to change the Roosters as quickly as he will want to. Another problem is the fact the club is locked into a lot of big contracts with players who are under performing.

Thats the entire team!

Smith has a big job ahead of him but it could be worse. Who does Newcastle now get to coach them next year?

Steve Folkes is available and may be a smart option. I’ve heard some people mention Mal Reilly which would be a total disaster. Getting Andrew or Matthew Johns in as coach would destroy the club. The other option is to promote a coach from their lower grades, which would be worth a punt, especially as they would come cheap.

What ever the case, it is all a lot to digest in such a short space of time. We can only hope that Newcastle goes and headhunts Matthew Elliott and takes him of Penriths hands!

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