Sideline Battles: The Coaching Shuffle

By Mark Hardy

This is a guest post from a new contributor to the site. Mark is a passionate rugby league fan and personal trainer, find Mark on Instagram

NRL fans are salivating over the upcoming season and are ready to cheer on their team with gusto and pride however the battle of the coaches that has me intrigued. As exciting as the on field battle will be, there will also be plenty happening from the sideline that will add to the drama of the upcoming season.

With the NRL season just 6 days away, the off season (from hell) also contained multiple coaching story lines from coach swaps to returning favourites.

An interesting starting point is Des Hasler’s return to Manly and whether he can lead Manly back to the winners circle after struggling to 15th in 2018. Wayne Bennett will be out for retribution after being dumped by the Broncos and hoping to prove he’s still the best coach in the business. The Knights have recruited well making some great off season signings (Klemmer excluded) can Nathan Brown get the Knights back to their Glory days? (editors note: Johns goes short side .. Johns to Albert).

It is time to look in depth at the coaching battles mentioned above. Des Hasler had tremendous success as a coach with Manly in the past, taking the club to two Grand Finals appearances winning one of them and bringing home World Club Challenge silverware, for all anyone cares about the world club challenge trophy. Manly fans will be hopping Hasler can steer the club into the finals and erase the memories of last season’s near the bottom of the ladder finish and restore the club to the success of the past.

Bennett VS Seibold is as interesting as Rabbitohs VS Broncos. Bennett was of course sacked by the Broncos he’ll be out to prove that Broncos management made a mistake to mess with the Old Bull. I think everyone is quite aware of Bennett’s success in the past but with the disappointing end to the Broncos finals run last year the question on everybody’s lips is can Bennett repeat his past success with a strong Rabbitohs squad. Expect a strong showing from Seibold and the Broncos, within his first year as a head coach he took the Rabbitohs to third place last season. Seibold will be out to prove that his first season wasn’t a fluke.

Former Player John Morris has replaced Shane Flanagan for the 2019 season. With Morris awarded only a one year contract he’ll be wanting to show the other NRL clubs that he’s an asset and he’ll be out to create a good win resume to continue in his coaching career. It is sink or swim for John Morris. Warriors defector Shaun Johnson now at the Sharks all NRL fans will be looking to Morris to unlock Johnson’s Superstar potential with consistent performances throughout the season. Morris will have his work cut out managing all the egos and personalities at Shark Park.

John Morris saves the sharks finals hopes by pushing the Nth queensland player into touch before he scores, what a great piece of effort at the end of a tough game.

Parramatta endured a disastrous 2018. Brad Authur will be out for redemption in 2019. Eels fans will be looking to Authur to help them forget the last few years and get the club back on track. If Authur can’t turn things around for the Eels this season, I believe he will find himself in the unemployment line come 2020.

Can Ricky Stuart get The Green Machine in the Canberra Raiders back to the finals? Stuart guided the Raiders through the 2016 finals campaign narrowly missing the grand final by one game but the following two years ended with the Raiders in tenth at the end of the regular season. Stuart is running out of time to get the Raiders to live up to the potential that fans and players alike know that they’re capable of.

With all the negativity that we’ve seen in the off season, here’s hoping that 2019 will bring joy to NRL fans with all the explosive on-field excitement we love and a sprinkling of off-field soap opera dramatics to keep things lively.


About the writer - Mark is the only personal trainer strength coach who hasn’t shifted base to the Gold Coast or started a fitness clothing line. Mark is a life long league fan and with three young boys is hoping to turn one into a football star so he doesn’t have to work anymore. The great Aussie dream.

Contact Mark via her personal website