There have been a number of changes to the NRL coaching ranks; however every club that has signed a new coach has reason to be pleased with their buy. Some of the coaches, of course, will feel aggrieved, in particular Trent Barrett, Anthony Griffin and Cameron Ciraldo – but the fans will have cause for optimism.
Manly have been searching for a new coach since July, when Barrett handed in his resignation notice. Fans were calling on the board to find someone who understands the Manly culture, and they delivered with the return of club legend Des Hasler. Barrett gave a year’s notice, so he will either be paid out or remain at the club in some capacity until midway through the season.
Penrith have finally got their man, uniting the player they want to build a dynasty around, Nathan Cleary, with his father Ivan as coach. They have been chasing the elder Cleary since firing Anthony Griffin with four rounds to go in the regular season, and got him on a five year deal.
Wests Tigers have lost the coach who rebuilt the club after the disasters of the last few years (Cleary) but are replacing him with Michael Maguire, who is a proven success after winning a premiership at Souths. His contract is also largely subsidised by Penrith in the form of compensation for releasing Cleary early.
Brisbane and Souths
Brisbane and Souths have swapped coaches, with Wayne Bennett headed to Sydney while Anthony Siebold is going to the Broncos. Brisbane feel that the relationship between the board and Bennett has broken down, and Siebold is their pick to replace him (after Craig Bellamy knocked them back to stay at Melbourne).
Souths, meanwhile, swap a rookie coach (albeit one who reached the preliminary finals in his debut season) for one of the most successful in the history of the game. They have a strong team already, and Bennett will be looking for an eighth premiership at his third club.