St Helens And The Catalan Dragons Should Throw Lots Of Money At Stuart

A lot of the time when a Super League club appoints a head coach, its basically just giving the job to the next guy in line.

Many of the coaches in Super League, the English ones, are bloody terrible. Guys that love the sport, they want to continue making a living out of the sport, they are full of enthusiasm but short of skill, knowledge, expertise and ability.

Every so often though, a club lucks out and makes a good call. They bring in a professional coach, someone that has learnt his trade in the best coaching environment in the game. Someone with up to date ideas and tactics, someone who sees the game from a post cold war point of view.

If I ran a Super League club today, and I saw that Ricky Stuart had announced that he was leaving the Cronulla Sharks at the end of the year, I’d all ready be drawing in as much money as I possibly good to make him an offer he simply couldn’t turn down.

It takes very little to be a successful coach in Super League. Just have a look at some of the completely useless coaches that can claim to be a Super League winner.

Every so often though a coach comes along and you can see the complete gulf in quality.

Nathan Brown didn’t set the NRL on fire as a coach. In fact, he was a fairly poor NRL coach. Yet he went to the lowly Huddersfield Giants, and the impact was immediate.

Then you have Michael Maguire, who was a little known assistant with the Melbourne Storm and managed to turn around a club who had previously spent millions of dollars on terrible players, and who had just let a former Great Britain coach leave.

Same playing roster, and yet the difference was night and day as Maguire’s came in from a top of the line professional coaching environment and applied his knowledge and ideas to Wigan.

Which brings me back to Ricky Stuart.

Stuart has coached the shell of a team that is the Sydney Roosters to an NRL Grand Final win. He has coached at State Of Origin and Test level. In fact I dare say that English Rugby League would never have seen a coach with his resume ever come close to taking over the running of a Super League club.

By the way, make no mistake, a good coach takes over a club.

Stuart would have his choice of clubs in Super League but I’d suggest two teams stand out right now.

St Helens need a new coach for the 2011 season. Its been suggested that this has already been sorted out, but knowing Saints, I think they would jump at the chance to get Stuart on board.

At St Helens Stuart would be able to work with one of the better clubs at bringing through English juniors, as well as a club that is willing to spend up big on better quality imports than other Super League clubs.

His biggest problem would be cracking the old boys network. There is a feeling that Mick Potter hasn’t worked at St Helens because the players don’t feel any connection with him. He isn’t friendly enough.

Stuart is a very intense coach, he has a certain style that he likes his teams to play with and he would demand nothing but the very best from his team. I’m not sure St Helens players are ready for that.

I this Ricky Stuart would be a great addition to the Catalan Dragons, who are desperate for someone to come in and sort out what has been a terrible mess of a club since ironically Mick Potter left them for St Helens.

The French are not known for busting their arse on the training paddock, but I think Stuart and his attitude would command enough respect that he would get the players on board.

Stuart would also have a couple of advantaged at the Dragons.

The first being the environment, living in the South of France kinda has something over living in Thatto Heath. The other thing is that, the Dragons have shown they can attract top class players from the NRL such as Dallas Johnson and Steve Bell.

Stuart would want to attract players from the NRL to any club he went too. Its not a bad lure to live in the South of France, make more money than then do in the NRL and play under a good coach.

The big problem however is, how do you convince Stuart to bring his family from Australia, to walk away from the cutting edge of the sport in the NRL, and get him to head to a second rate competition like Super League.

Obviously money is an issue, however I also would suggest that there are not really any good jobs going in Australia right now.

I’d suggest that Stuart is one of the few coaches that could head over season, come back and not be seen as old or damaged good.

As some clubs look to just hand the reigns over to the next guy in line, the top clubs should be looking at signing the best of the best.

Stuart has done it hard at the Sharks over the last few years, but there is no doubt he is one of the elite coaches in the game today.

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