NRL coaches look to nail down jobs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL coaches look to nail down jobs

By Steve Jancetic 20/08/2010 08:09:55 PM Comments (0)

Most are still busy battling for their finals lives, but the NRL coaching landscape could be set for its most dramatic overhaul with 10 coaches set to come off contract next season.

With player movement having settled down since it was announced Melbourne star Greg Inglis would be heading to Brisbane next year, the spotlight has turned to the men with the clipboards.

And with free agents such as Ricky Stuart and Jason Taylor, plus Super League duo Mick Potter and Nathan Brown all on the lookout for a job, there are some coaches facing a nervous few months.

No decisions will be made until after clubs have completed their end-of-season reviews - but central to that for a number of men will be their ability to get their sides into the finals.

Five coaches off contract at the end of 2011 - St George Illawarra's Wayne Bennett, Penrith' Matt Elliott, Wests Tigers' Tim Sheens, the Warriors' Ivan Cleary and Gold Coast's John Cartwright - all have their sides ensconced in the top eight with three regular season games to go.

Four others - Parramatta's Daniel Anderson, South Sydney's John Lang, Canberra's David Furner and Newcastle's Rick Stone - are walking the finals' tightrope.

The other one is Cronulla's Shane Flanagan, who only took over from Stuart last month and only has one year guaranteed, with the Sharks holding an option for 2012.

Such is the fickle nature of coaching that Eels chairman Roy Spagnolo was this week forced to commit to Anderson for 2011, with reports Anderson was in danger of being sacked with one year remaining on his contract.

Despite rumours of discontent within certain factions of the joint venture fed up with the long finals drought, the Tigers gave Sheens an extra season on his deal at the start of this year.

Having guided the Tigers back to the post-season, Test coach Sheens could become hot property if he secures a fifth premiership, but chief executive Stephen Humphreys said neither party was in any rush to talk about a new deal.

"The idea of doing it earlier in the year was so we didn't have to worry about it," Humphreys said.

"We haven't had any further discussions about it."

On the prospect of Sheens being poached by a rival - with the Rabbitohs having reportedly signalled their interest for 2012 - Humphreys said: "I think he likes it here and we like having him here so I think it will be fine."

Should there be mass movement, there is the potential to better the effort of 2009 when seven coaches were having their first seasons with clubs.

While the Tigers are confident Sheens will stay put, Bennett and Cartwright would also seem secure should they desire to stay on.

But the remainder will need to put results on the board to be sure of their positions.

Stuart, who said he would definitely coach in the NRL again on the day he walked out on the Sharks, has already been linked with several jobs, most notably South Sydney, the Eels and Canberra, where he won three premierships with the Raiders.

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