Roosters can end my title drought: Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters can end my title drought: Smith

By Steve Jancetic 08/09/2010 06:32:51 PM Comments (0)

He's been to ten finals series and led his teams to three grand finals, but Sydney Roosters coach Brian Smith believes he finally has the side to end his 27-year wait for an NRL premiership.

"I'm feeling like it's as good a chance as I've ever had to win a premiership with any team I've ever coached," said Smith, who came up empty in grand finals with St George (twice) and Parramatta.

"Whether we get it done - that depends on this Saturday and the following few Saturdays or Sundays.

"I think it's wide open and it's there for us - same as it is for the other seven teams as well this season."

Told a premiership was the last thing for him to achieve after securing a second Dally M coach of the year award on Tuesday night, Smith said:

"I hope you're right about that, I'm itchy."

The third-most experienced coach in premiership history - with only fellow finalists Tim Sheens and Wayne Bennett ahead of him - Smith's inability to land a title continues to blight a coaching resume that has only one glaring omission.

With their participation in this year's finals, Smith and Sheens will join Warren Ryan and Jack Gibson in notching up their 11th finals series.

Only Bennett (21st this year) and Bob Fulton (15) have more.

Of that group of six, only Smith is without a premiership, with the others all having multiple titles.

Smith's first two trips to the grand final ended in heartache with his Dragons outfit no match for Bennett's all-conquering Broncos sides in 1992-93.

Many believe Smith's best chance to break his duck was with the Eels in 2001, when Parramatta set a single-season points scoring record with 839 points scored in amassing a 20-4 win-loss record throughout the regular season.

They stormed through the finals series before running into a rampant Newcastle side in the grand final, with Andrew Johns and Ben Kennedy orchestrating a first-half massacre from which the Eels failed to recover.

The Roosters surge into sixth spot this season has been nowhere near as spectacular, but it hasn't dulled his optimism that this could be the year with Smith claiming his Parramatta side in 2001 had a tougher assignment than the one facing his current crop.

"The (Newcastle) team that we were playing against on that particular evening contained probably six or eight of the best players of the decade and I think everybody forgot that because of the way the Parramatta team had performed over the course of the season," Smith said.

"We played against a very, very good team that day - I'm not sure whether any of the teams in the comp this year are that good or with that many individuals in the team that are that good."

Certainly Smith has on his hands an individual talent who may one day rival some of those Newcastle greats with Todd Carney continuing his stunning re-emergence as an NRL superstar after securing the Dally M medal on Tuesday night.

Carney paid tribute to everyone involved with the Roosters for helping him get his career back on the rails, after he had his contract torn up by Canberra midway through 2008 for repeated alcohol-related indiscretions.

Asked about the biggest change he has undertaken in his return, Carney said it came down to his attitude.

"Everyone puts it back to drinking - that's probably one of them but just my attitude about the game," he said.

"I knew when I left the NRL in 2008 that if I got another opportunity, I said to people close to me that when I got another crack at it I wasn't going to let it slip."

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