Coaches hope to shed winless tag - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Coaches hope to shed winless tag

By Joe Barton 10/09/2010 04:46:47 PM Comments (0)

Victory and the assurance of another week in the NRL finals series aren't the only things to go on the line for Penrith coach Matt Elliott and his Canberra counterpart Dave Furner at CUA Stadium on Saturday night.

One man will also register his first finals win in the competition - not such a big thing for Furner in his maiden NRL playoff - but something of a millstone for Elliott who's none from five in post season footy.

"It would be nice (to break the duck this weekend), I'd prefer not to have that (stat hanging over my head) but it is what it is I guess," Elliott said on Friday.

"If you look at my record it would suggest from afar that perhaps I haven't got it quite right, but if you look at the games individually you'll probably see there was a couple of really close games in that.

"I'm not suffering any anxiety over it."

While Elliott won an English Super League title with Bradford in 1996 he hasn't got past the first hurdle domestically, his four finals series when coach of Canberra between 2002 and 2006 ending in heartbreak.

Furner, Elliott's former offsider in the coaching ranks at Canberra in just his second year in charge, would be glad to have made it to this point with the Raiders winning eight of their last nine matches to slot into seventh.

The pair share plenty of common ground: both come from country backgrounds and played top level rugby league before transitioning into the coaching ranks with a relaxed style that sees the teams play some of the most carefree, attacking football in the top eight.

But Elliott stressed that the outcome of the finals encounter would not be decided by the men carrying clipboards.

"I don't really see it as a contest between me and Dave," Elliott explained.

"It's not about Matt Elliott at all. It's about the 17 blokes that are wearing Penrith jerseys, my job is to try and give them the tools and the facility to do that.

"The rules don't change for semi-finals, the player doesn't suddenly accumulate more ability from one week to the next.

"Sometimes I think we overstress the importance of coaching.

"It's not about coaches now, we (just) get the ball rolling as far as how they play collectively together.

"It's more about management. And I guess if you look at the guys that have a better (finals) record than me, that's what they're best known for." Elliott praised Furner's approach and his ability to pull his team out of a midseason slump to get them into the eight.

"I think he's a good coach and a good leader of men and he's a strong willed guy," he said.

While Furner may be willing it seems Panthers stand-in captain Luke Lewis' flesh is still weak, the lock struggling to overcome a calf injury.

Lewis limped away from training with an ice pack on his calf, and Elliott confirmed he remains in doubt for the game, although Luke Walsh (ankle) is a definite starter.

"Lewie trained, (but) I wouldn't say he ran free," Elliott said.

"The big test for us now is to see how he pulls up (on Saturday) but he trained pretty well."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news