Realistic effect of coaching changes



  • I was having a think about all the coaching changes that happened this year and now, 8 rounds into the season, what the impact of that has been.

    The two clubs that caused the coaching merry-go-round are Broncos and Penrith. Obviously Broncos wanted to out Bennett and Penrith made an informal approach to Cleary; Tigers and Rabbits would have kept their coaches if they were permitted. Everything else follows on from there.

    Seibold at Broncos and Cleary at Panthers are now heading what are unequivocally two of the biggest organisations in the NRL. Both teams are backed by largely successful financial entities and draw from the two biggest individual junior development areas in Australia. There’s no off-field reason for these clubs not to perform, other than mismanagement and general failure to convert off-field advantages into on-field performances.

    What is interesting to me is that we can all see that Penrith and Broncos are performing poorly, with both sides 2 wins and 6 losses. Both sides have poor points differentials. The sides finished 5th and 6th respectively in 2018.

    Now the season isn’t over yet, but the signs are not good for these clubs. They have specifically head-hunted 2 well-respected coaches to increase an already moderately successful football program, and the results are bad. And this isn’t some whim or desperation play, this is two highly professional, talented and well-staffed organisations that have made a tactical decision that is currently backfiring in a big way.

    In contrast, Tigers and Manly were forced to change their coach and the outcomes are moderate to good. Tigers are where they always are - 9th, and Manly have played themselves into 6th with a good month of footy. Both clubs are only modestly financial, both clubs are also fielding a fairly average roster with insignificant depth. But both clubs are frankly doing ok despite their coaches leaving under difficult circumstances.

    And fair respect to Des Hasler, maligned in many corners despite an overall stellar track record, getting his Manly outfit to lift in games and take out some reasonable opposition (Rabbits, Raiders).

    Souths, another club to change coaches, aren’t really in the same boat. They finished 3rd in 2018, added the most experienced coach in the game and are still where they were, which isn’t entirely surprising. Sharkies also were forced to change coach and are slightly worse off than 2018 (same win rate as Tigers).

    It therefore makes me wonder, in appropriate context, of the expectations of Tigers fans when it comes to season 2019. I don’t make any excuses for anything, I just look at what Tigers have and what’s realistic to expect from the team. There’s another thread about having a realistic think about our roster.

    But in terms of coach, we have a decently-credentialled coach who has come in at extreme short notice, with only 1 roster change that he personally approved, and been asked to take that side to the finals. Until Round 8, Tigers were indeed within the Top 8. Some performances have been good, some not so good, only 1 horrid result so far. Some players have improved in 2019 and some have not. Mixed bag, typical Tigers and realistically what you’d expect from the roster we have.

    But the context - other clubs with far better off-field capacity than us, with clearly superior rosters, have head-hunted their choice of coach and now wallow beneath us on the table. Everyone knows rugby league is not just about money and rosters, it’s about consistency, belief, heart, stability.

    Tigers have not had the same coach for more than 2 seasons since 2012. That means the coach has been gone in less than the timeframe of an average 3-year NRL contract. That alone cannot help team performance. And frankly, until 2017 we were purchasing bargain-bin coaches.

    It would therefore be reasonable to expect Tigers to be a middle-ground team again in 2019. It would be reasonable to see them improve in some ways but not all ways. It would be reasonable to expect that the coach will want to mould the roster and may ultimately notdecide on a playing style that suits all incumbents. It’s reasonable to look at the failures of Broncos and Penrith and see that a coaching change alone is no predictor of success.

    People complain about “always next year”, but we have to have a coach with some long-term stability before expecting proper results. Tim Sheens jagged a result in 2005, but the terrific sides of 2010-2011 only happened because of the team he cultivated 2008-2009 - teams mostly unrelated to the premiership side, that were on the cusp of finals for a few seasons but didn’t quite click until 2010.

    Every other club that does anything good for any period of time has 1 thing in common, that they have stable coaching.



  • @jirskyr great post. I think I had been hoping the team would slide into the top 8 to give us some more credibility in terms of results which would combine with the off field improvements the club has made to improve our successes in the player market. Realistically we are probably destined again for 9-12th. I recall Ivan told us that the recruitment under his tenure was not necessarily to bring in the players that would take us to the promise land but the players that would assist to affect a cultural improvement. I personally don’t think he delivered on this. I think we got more of the same, just with names people were more aware of. Agree with you on the points around the instability in coaching and impact on performance. We have a coach now with both experience and runs on the board. It would be good to have him for a minimum of 5 years and have him help reinvigorate our junior base that has largely been struggling since the partnership with Keebra Park dissolved. The roster Madge has inherited is probably going to see a lot of change as he moulds the playing group in his image. An image I think we all can agree is vastly different than previous versions and hopefully brings a new mental toughness to the playing group at WT that has frankly been missing from the majority of teams we have fielded over the years and would likely translate to a couple more wins each season.



  • Good post yet again.



  • @jirskyr said in Realistic effect of coaching changes:

    I was having a think about all the coaching changes that happened this year and now, 8 rounds into the season, what the impact of that has been.

    The two clubs that caused the coaching merry-go-round are Broncos and Penrith. Obviously Broncos wanted to out Bennett and Penrith made an informal approach to Cleary; Tigers and Rabbits would have kept their coaches if they were permitted. Everything else follows on from there.

    Seibold at Broncos and Cleary at Panthers are now heading what are unequivocally two of the biggest organisations in the NRL. Both teams are backed by largely successful financial entities and draw from the two biggest individual junior development areas in Australia. There’s no off-field reason for these clubs not to perform, other than mismanagement and general failure to convert off-field advantages into on-field performances.

    What is interesting to me is that we can all see that Penrith and Broncos are performing poorly, with both sides 2 wins and 6 losses. Both sides have poor points differentials. The sides finished 5th and 6th respectively in 2018.

    Now the season isn’t over yet, but the signs are not good for these clubs. They have specifically head-hunted 2 well-respected coaches to increase an already moderately successful football program, and the results are bad. And this isn’t some whim or desperation play, this is two highly professional, talented and well-staffed organisations that have made a tactical decision that is currently backfiring in a big way.

    In contrast, Tigers and Manly were forced to change their coach and the outcomes are moderate to good. Tigers are where they always are - 9th, and Manly have played themselves into 6th with a good month of footy. Both clubs are only modestly financial, both clubs are also fielding a fairly average roster with insignificant depth. But both clubs are frankly doing ok despite their coaches leaving under difficult circumstances.

    And fair respect to Des Hasler, maligned in many corners despite an overall stellar track record, getting his Manly outfit to lift in games and take out some reasonable opposition (Rabbits, Raiders).

    Souths, another club to change coaches, aren’t really in the same boat. They finished 3rd in 2018, added the most experienced coach in the game and are still where they were, which isn’t entirely surprising. Sharkies also were forced to change coach and are slightly worse off than 2018 (same win rate as Tigers).

    It therefore makes me wonder, in appropriate context, of the expectations of Tigers fans when it comes to season 2019. I don’t make any excuses for anything, I just look at what Tigers have and what’s realistic to expect from the team. There’s another thread about having a realistic think about our roster.

    But in terms of coach, we have a decently-credentialled coach who has come in at extreme short notice, with only 1 roster change that he personally approved, and been asked to take that side to the finals. Until Round 8, Tigers were indeed within the Top 8. Some performances have been good, some not so good, only 1 horrid result so far. Some players have improved in 2019 and some have not. Mixed bag, typical Tigers and realistically what you’d expect from the roster we have.

    But the context - other clubs with far better off-field capacity than us, with clearly superior rosters, have head-hunted their choice of coach and now wallow beneath us on the table. Everyone knows rugby league is not just about money and rosters, it’s about consistency, belief, heart, stability.

    Tigers have not had the same coach for more than 2 seasons since 2012. That means the coach has been gone in less than the timeframe of an average 3-year NRL contract. That alone cannot help team performance. And frankly, until 2017 we were purchasing bargain-bin coaches.

    It would therefore be reasonable to expect Tigers to be a middle-ground team again in 2019. It would be reasonable to see them improve in some ways but not all ways. It would be reasonable to expect that the coach will want to mould the roster and may ultimately notdecide on a playing style that suits all incumbents. It’s reasonable to look at the failures of Broncos and Penrith and see that a coaching change alone is no predictor of success.

    People complain about “always next year”, but we have to have a coach with some long-term stability before expecting proper results. Tim Sheens jagged a result in 2005, but the terrific sides of 2010-2011 only happened because of the team he cultivated 2008-2009 - teams mostly unrelated to the premiership side, that were on the cusp of finals for a few seasons but didn’t quite click until 2010.

    Every other club that does anything good for any period of time has 1 thing in common, that they have stable coaching.

    Brisbane have made some horrible recruitment decisions in the past 2-3 years …no use signing good players if they don’t fit the structure

    Ennis’s comments last night in regards to Seibold was so true …using stats to try and cover up the absolute debacle that is the Broncos

    Penrith are getting karma …pure and simple and deservedly so



  • Brisbane’s kids are lacking leadership, pure and simple.

    Letting McGuire go was a stupid move in the short term



  • Yes enjoyed the post and agree with your assessment.



  • @BalmainJnr said in Realistic effect of coaching changes:

    I recall Ivan told us that the recruitment under his tenure was not necessarily to bring in the players that would take us to the promise land but the players that would assist to affect a cultural improvement. I personally don’t think he delivered on this. I think we got more of the same, just with names people were more aware of.

    That’s an interesting thought.

    I actually wonder if we did see some cultural improvement, but it was Ivan-specific improvement. Tigers were definitely better in 2018 than previous seasons.

    But what I mean is that Cleary brought in a particular type of player and, I suppose, aimed for a particular type of culture. Packer, Reynolds, Matulino, Fonua, Rochow - all tough, rugged, simple, low mobility type players, good 1-1 tacklers. He essentially bought “staunch” footballers that subscribed to his particular brand of football. I think he produced a group of reasonable individuals rather than a successful “team”.

    And I think we saw that in 2018 performances - scrappy defence, low-scoring matches, lack of attacking flair, plenty of grind, 50% wins.

    Madge is different, Madge appears to want bigger minutes, better overall systems, more structure, less scrap. I would argue that almost 100% of players hired and coached by Cleary have regressed under Madge in 2019. Twal has gone up a level. Thompsons perhaps is flat. Matterson was brought by Cleary but never coached. Reynolds can’t stay on the field. Everyone else definitely worse.

    I think the culture is definitely changing again and a significant proportion of the roster isn’t going to stay with it. I think I prefer Madge’s culture even in just 8 rounds. There’s just something different to me, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I was constantly nervous about the Cleary-coached team falling away, but I feel the Madge-coached team is gradually building to something new.

    Eternal optimist perhaps.



  • @happy_tiger said in Realistic effect of coaching changes:

    Penrith are getting karma …pure and simple and deservedly so

    Do you believe in the God Of Football?



  • @jirskyr
    I just think that what is different with the style Madge brings is that he has been pretty clear with each player on what he expects, requires and demands.
    I also think that he is not too concerned on how this season pans out because he will have the player results and be pretty clear on what he needs to do with our roster. It’s clear to me that some players are already getting the idea that they are just not going to fit into our future structure.



  • @jirskyr said in Realistic effect of coaching changes:

    @happy_tiger said in Realistic effect of coaching changes:

    Penrith are getting karma …pure and simple and deservedly so

    Do you believe in the God Of Football?

    Starts coaching the Brisbane Roar next season …lol

    As for NRL yes …God lolled at the NRL in 2005 …not sure when he will have such a sense of humour again



  • @jirskyr
    Great post.
    I agree. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    But failure to act and make calls on players, which everyone can see as obvious, is either completely idiotic or utterly brilliant.
    All the bargain bin coaches have tried to stick to a status quo/not upsetting the apple cart, while they try and instill their philosophy. It hasn’t worked. Time to shake things up as far as I’m concerned. What have we got to lose?



  • @bigsiro but Rome did eventually get built…



  • @Tiger_Steve
    Brilliant
    🤣



  • @bigsiro said in Realistic effect of coaching changes:

    @jirskyr
    Great post.
    I agree. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    But failure to act and make calls on players, which everyone can see as obvious, is either completely idiotic or utterly brilliant.
    All the bargain bin coaches have tried to stick to a status quo/not upsetting the apple cart, while they try and instill their philosophy. It hasn’t worked. Time to shake things up as far as I’m concerned. What have we got to lose?

    Calls have been made on players. Packer, ET, Mikaele have all been dropped at various stages so far this year. Packer and ET were co captains last year and Packer is on big money. Reynolds is on big money too and started the season playing for the Magpies. If that isn’t upsetting the apple cart, idk what is.



  • @GNR4LIFE said in Realistic effect of coaching changes:

    Calls have been made on players. Packer, ET, Mikaele have all been dropped at various stages so far this year. Packer and ET were co captains last year and Packer is on big money. Reynolds is on big money too and started the season playing for the Magpies. If that isn’t upsetting the apple cart, idk what is.

    Madge has been making some pretty big calls hasn’t he. I reckon we have to trust the guy based on his decisions and actions so far. He has a tough job but he is making lots of tough calls and that is all you can ask of him. If the players aren’t good enough that is how it goes.


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