Win or lose, Craig Bellamy is safe.
Win or lose, Craig Bellamy is safe.

Rated: How safe is your NRL coach?

IT's remarkable how quickly the landscape changes for our NRL coaches.

When Phil Gould sacked Ivan Cleary at the end of 2015 the Penrith supremo claimed Cleary looked "tired".

Heading into 2018 and suddenly Cleary looks remarkably fresh, while now it's Anthony Griffin on shaky ground.

PAUL CRAWLEY takes a look at the safety rating of each NRL coach going into the new season and gives his verdict on who will be the first to go.

CRAIG BELLAMY

Safety rating: 10

You'd be backing the mighty mare Winx to fall before this master of the modern game. Coming into his 16th season at Melbourne and still has the job for as long as he wants it.

PAUL GREEN

Safety rating: 10

A couple of weeks back the story emerged that Brisbane had already sounded out Paul Green as Wayne Bennett's long-term successor. While Green has indicated he wants to stay at North Queensland, I still reckon when Bennett retires Green will coach the Broncos.

WAYNE BENNETT

Safety rating: 10

Everyone seems to forget Brisbane finished third last year despite a string of key late-season injuries. Then look what the old bloke did with England at the World Cup. Just nonsense to even suggest Bennett enters 2018 under any pressure whatsoever.

 

BRAD ARTHUR

Safety rating: 9.5

Hasn't this bloke done a great job. I thought Parramatta over-achieved last year but everyone who saw the trial win over Newcastle reckons the Eels are deadset premiership contenders this year. Arthur is contracted under the end of 2019 but if I was Bernie Gurr I'd be giving the coach an extension and a pay rise. Before another club comes hunting.

IVAN CLEARY

Safety rating: 8

Poor Gus is still wiping the egg off his face over this. I'm not saying the Tigers will make the eight this year. But I went to their season launch last week and the one thing that stood out was just how happy the players were. Then you look at what's going on at Penrith. You tell me who looks tired?

RICKY STUART

Safety rating: 8

Has absolute support in Canberra for good reason. Remember a couple of years back how someone at the NRL said the Raiders didn't represent a pin-prick on the rugby league map? Without Stuart, Canberra wouldn't have near the same clout when it comes to recruiting, attracting sponsors and not allowing the NRL to walk all over them.

TRENT ROBINSON

Safety rating: 7.5

I wrote heading into last year's preliminary final that Robinson would accrue long-service by the time he was done at the Roosters. Now I'm not so sure. Like I said earlier, the landscape changes quickly in this game. While it was an incredibly brave call bringing in Cooper Cronk over Mitchell Pearce, the concern for Robinson is if the Roosters don't win the comp.

Trent Robinson may not accrue long-service leave at the club.
Trent Robinson may not accrue long-service leave at the club.

SHANE FLANAGAN

Safety rating: 7.5

On paper one of the best rosters in the comp. But that little incident with Josh Dugan playing up at the RSL Club highlights my major worry. The Sharks have a few too many players on their books with the wrong type of form for my liking.

TRENT BARRETT

Safety rating: 7.5

Did a great job to get Manly in the eight last year and received a contract extension as his reward. Brookvale would have to explode for Barrett to feel any heat this year.

PAUL McGREGOR

Safety rating: 6.5

Mary's come out and said for the first time since he took charge he now has his fingerprints all over this roster. What that means is the Dragons must make the eight. I think they will. I still reckon they are a strike outside back short of being up with the best teams.

Anthony Siebold faces one of the biggest challenges in the game.
Anthony Siebold faces one of the biggest challenges in the game.

NATHAN BROWN

Safety rating: 6

Has done a magnificent job with recruitment but that needs to reflect in performances this year. While I'm tipping a much improved season, my concern for Brown is that I think a lot of people are putting too much pressure on the Knights saying they will make the eight. After three straight wooden spoons it's an unfair expectation.

ANTHONY SIEBOLD

Safety rating: 5

Strikes me as a good bloke with a great knowledge of the game. But I said it last year when they signed Siebold, he has taken on a huge challenge coaching a club with South Sydney's history first up. If they can sack Michael Maguire three years after winning a premiership, what pressure does that put on Siebold now?

New Gold Coast boss Garth Brennan. Picture: Nigel Hallett
New Gold Coast boss Garth Brennan. Picture: Nigel Hallett

DEAN PAY

Safety rating: 4.5

If the board that appointed him was still in charge I'd have Pay as safe as money in the bank. That's not the case anymore. While the new board say they have Pay's back, the reality is he was appointed by Ray Dib. Looked good in the trials but even with a tremendous pack, need Kieran Foran to stay healthy.

GARTH BRENNAN

Safety rating: 4

Maybe Gus is just a great bloke and is really going out of his way to help Brennan with all these Penrith players heading to the Gold Coast. But something tells me Gus would not be that generous at the expense of the Panthers.

Anthony Griffin’s Penrith career is on lifeline. Picture: Gregg Porteous
Anthony Griffin’s Penrith career is on lifeline. Picture: Gregg Porteous

STEPHEN KEARNEY

Safety rating: 3

Just about everyone's tip to be first coach sacked but not mine. One of the big changes the Warriors made over the summer was bringing in Alex Corvo to take charge of their physical preparation. Corvo is one of the best and the word is the Warriors looked strong in their trial win over Gold Coast. Even so, Kearney surviving the season is long odds.

ANTHONY GRIFFIN

Safety rating: 2

Penrith say Griffin has a contract until the end of 2020 and is going nowhere. Just like they told us Matt Moylan was staying at the end of last season.

Gould can spin this any way he wants but I agree with what Laurie Daley said:

How can Griffin not to have his power diluted if Gus is continually stepping in at training?

If Gould wants Griffin to coach, let him coach. If not, make the call.

But despite what Penrith tell us, I just can't see how this is a workable situation.


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