Stuart firming for Blues role - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stuart firming for Blues role

By Steve Jancetic 06/10/2010 07:48:14 PM Comments (0)

Ricky Stuart is firming as favourite to coach NSW in next year's State of Origin series after an independent report recommended the Blues follow Queensland's lead in appointing a fulltime candidate to the post.

Stuart, without an NRL club after quitting Cronulla mid-season, is the standout nominee with former NSW coach and television personality Phil Gould unlikely to be coaxed out of retirement for a third tenure with the Blues.

NSW legends Brad Fittler and Laurie Daley will also come under heavy consideration, but Stuart's impressive coaching record at representative level - which includes guiding NSW to a series win in his only campaign in 2005 - is likely to see him get the nod.

The Blues haven't won since that series, the Maroons going five for five after bringing in Mal Meninga as a fulltime coach in 2006.

The barren run prompted NSW hierarchy to employ former Sydney Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan to conduct an independent review - the results of which were presented to the NSW rugby League board on Wednesday.

Canavan interviewed more than 100 people in compiling his report, the appointment of a fulltime coach one of several recommendations which also included the establishment of a high performance unit to be headed by a chief adviser to oversee selections and squad preparations.

"The Board fully supports all aspects of the report in principle and will look at the immediate implementation of the recommendations subject to sourcing the necessary budget," NSWRL general manager Geoff Carr said.

"The extensive research which Brian has undertaken to come up with a best practice model is exceptional and has set the platform for short term success and sustainable competitive advantage."

Canavan also called for coaches to be appointed "with a view to longer term tenure," which could end the current practice which sees coaches appointed on a year-by-year basis.

After three successive series losses, 2010 coach Craig Bellamy stood down from the consideration for the role, with his successor likely to be named by the end of the year.

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