Brian Smith extends stay at Newcastle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brian Smith extends stay at Newcastle

27/02/2009 07:28:51 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle coach Brian Smith believes the Knights are following a well worn path towards a grand final appearance in 2010.

And in even better news for Knights fans, a premiership win should follow just a year later.

As the Knights on Friday announced the retention of Smith until at least the end of the 2010 NRL season, the veteran coach outlined his plan to emulate the deeds of the two most recent premiers, Manly and Melbourne.

Not bad for a man who was nearly run out of town midway through the first year of his three-year deal in 2007, Knights fans livid at his roster overhaul in the wake of Andrew Johns' shock retirement.

"We've been together for a couple of years now ... I think you can see evidence of where Manly and Melbourne are probably the two most notable at the moment - they've built solid foundations and they've gone on to be up there near the top for four or five years," Smith said on Friday.

"Hopefully that's the path we're heading down ourselves."

Asked where the Knights were in relation to the Sea Eagles and the Storm, Smith said:

"Probably about the same place they were after a couple of years in their programs.

"I think we're capable of jumping up the queue a bit.

"We did that last year, we made significant progress from 15th to ninth and we scored 28 points in the league last year."

Looking closely at the results, it's clear Smith is on to something.

While Smith may have fallen short of matching Craig Bellamy's perfect record of appearing in finals every year with the Storm, the correlation with Des Hasler and the Sea Eagles is much closer.

In Hasler's five years at the club, the Sea Eagles have gone from 14th to eighth, to fifth, to grand finalists to premiers.

Smith's Knights have gone from 15th to ninth to who knows where in 2009.

"I think we've got good cause to feel that if we work hard and we work together we're a good chance of making that playoff series, and that's just this year," Smith said.

While Smith's vision on clear-cut, his future is less so despite Friday's extension announcement.

The deal is guaranteed until the end of next season at which point performance triggers - the nature of which were not disclosed - will determine whether he will continue into 2011.

"I'm hopeful that he will trigger those, I'm confident that he will," Knights chief executive Steve Burraston said.

"It also doesn't stop us from extending his contract (without meeting the requirements).

"It's not just a one-year extension, I think it's got to be seen as a vote of confidence in Brian Smith and his ability."

Smith said the relative insecurity of the deal was not a concern.

"I'm not bothered about the period," Smith said.

"Obviously I would like to be in Newcastle for a long time because I feel like we've done some major renovations and laid down a great platform."

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