Flush That Turd 2016: Your Super League Coaching Hot Seats
There are few things more exciting for the cynical rugby league fan than coach getting fired. All year long, we keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner.
Remember, guys in danger usually need a combination of a) shittier team than it should be, b) loony/trigger happy chairman, and c) generally disliked and/or disrespected individual.
But there’s also an intangible in play. Rugby League coaching is the only game where it’s OK to look and sound stupid, but seem like YOU’RE THE RIGHT GUY FOR THE JOB if you have a smashed up, meathead type face, contorted into a perpetually angry look. “LOOK HOW COMMITTED HE IS!”. If your coach isn’t ugly, watch out – he could be circling the drain.
Odds listed were their pre-season odds – and our view on whether they’re shortening or lengthening.
Chris Chester – pre-season: 9/2 – GONE!!!!!
WHAT WE SAID: “His appointment could only have been about budgetary constraints.”
Incredibly, Chester parlayed his sacking into a club who knows all about budgetary constraints: Wakefield. Unbelievable. And of course, at KR, he was replaced by a former Wakefield coach. These guys know quality.
Brian Smith – pre-season: 9/2 – GONE!!!!!
WHAT WE SAID: “There’s a couple of reasons his odds are so short. First, his team is awful, even for this league. Second, unless the fact that he’s coaching a team sponsored by a fish and chip shop has mellowed him, he’s as abrasive as a sandpaper jockstrap. Its only a matter of time before he makes demands that can’t be met by a club where the ground is worth less than his contract. Then he’ll be returning home for “personal reasons”.”
If you’re a Wakey supporter, you were saying “You Know What, F*&^ Brian Smith” after he cleared out in the most predictable way possible. Since Chester’s probably living on his Hull KR payout, Wakey are probably paying him in lawn clippings and Bovril cubes.
Paul Anderson Evens
In a month in which Josh Charnley signed a big money Rugby Union deal, Salford players physically beat up their own fans on the terraces and RFL CEO Nigel Wood got a 3 year contract extension, the biggest shock from March is that Paul Anderson is still the Giants Head Coach.
Charnley’s departure isn’t such a shock as Wigan’s crafty owner offloads a probably already overpaid former international to anyone that’ll have him, and we’re not even that surprised by the random brawl between players and fans at Salford – only that someone thought it’d be a good idea to square up to Junior S’au.
But the extension of Big Nige’s contract by 3 years? Baffling. How the big guy didn’t land a Gary Hetherington “contract for life” is beyond us. The guy has stuck with the sport through thick and thin, through all the size-ist abuse, lunatic owners and failing clubs. This is the man that brought us innovations such as cashless sponsorship deals, a Scottish national team and the sort of cutting edge media campaigns that sports such as darts could only dream of.
He’s brought back the great powerhouse commercial partners from the 80s, Brut, Bachelors and Irn Bru. And don’t forget, we’re right on the verge of international success.
I digress. How is Paul Anderson still at the reins of the Giants, I hear you cry? The Giants currently sit dead last in the table with only a win against Hull KR (currently sitting 11th) to show for their toils. The season highlight after 8 rounds is only losing to Leeds Rhinos (currently sitting 10th) by 4 points.
Well there are several possible explanations:
1. We refer you to the intangible. Anderson may look and sound stupid, but no one can deny he has got a smashed up, meathead type face, contorted into a perpetually angry look. Only Radford, Betts and McDermott currently top Anderson in this field.
2. They’ve missed the boat on Chris Chester and John Kear. There is NO ONE else.
3. The Chairman has been one of the walking dead for so long he hasn’t noticed the drop in crowds. Still you’d have to have a keen eye for detail.
All that said, Anderson’s buttocks are on fire right now. His pre-season odds on being first to go were 12-1, but he’s now odds on to be the next down the pan.
Ian Watson 9/2
Watson is Keyser Soze of Super League. His biggest mistake in 2016 has been to win a few too many fixtures, thus escalating him to the point where his own chairman might recognise him. Things were going a little too well for Salford this season, but any rugby league fan worth his or her (#heforshe) salt knew it was just a matter of time. A salary cap violation, rampaging fans and a loss to Hull KR later and the wheels are coming off again. The sideshow will keep Watson alive for a little longer, but as soon as Marwan’s worked out what he looks like, he’s Gary Gonners.
Lee Radford 7/1
Future nightclub bouncer Radford was 20 minutes from being publicly executed in Hull town square after a disastrous start to the season, and 20-0 down against a terrible Hull KR outfit. A 20 minute burst of energy and then a Easter Monday victory over unbeaten Warrington, have seen his chances of survival improve dramatically.
Perhaps the most intriguing insight from the Hull derby performance was provided by Paul Cooke. Cooke claims Radford’s master stroke was to get the team to pass left instead of right. “FC played everything left to right in the first half. In the last 20 minutes, FC played everything from right to left…It looked much better. I’m sure it was very satisfying for coach Radford too…a great coaching decision.”
It’s hard to understand how with that coaching talent in the country, the RFL had to reach to Australia to appoint Wayne Bennett to the England job.
However with this spike in form and with the ugliest and angriest face on the coaching circuit, (“we pull in and there’s glasses being thrown at the bus, it’s brilliant”) he’s forged up the Super League coach power rankings. He’s still favourite to be sacked by email though.
Kieran Cunningham 10/1
This guy’s heroic status in St Helen’s has got to be the only reason they’re putting up with this garbage. They should have sacked him the moment he argued against the appointment of Wayne Bennett as England coach.
Pulling that statue down is going to be hard work, so bank on them appointing an Australian “Director of Football” instead.
Laurent Frayssinous 12/1
He’s French and therefore by conventional (mildly xenophobic) English wisdom, unpredictable. But Catalans has spent all its money on Todd Carney and friends, so Lauren isn’t going anywhere. Plus, it’s possible he owns Dacia.
Brian McDermott 16/1
Super League coach of the year and Keiran Cunningham’s favourite for the England job (what an endorsement!), Brian Mac is still safe. But the Rhinos have lost their four best players and suddenly things at Leeds are looking a bit more like those days in London everyone has now forgotten. Someone get Dave Tootil on the phone!
Tony Smith 18/1
Tony was on the streak of his life, going unbeaten until Easter Monday, before being overpowered by a Hull FC reinvigorated by the discovery of the right to left pass. Wolves are riding high at the top of the table and will obviously go on to win the Challenge Cup, before fizzling out in October. The quizzical looking Aussie will be fine for another year, where he will have another opportunity to complain about the Easter fixture schedule.
Denis Betts 20/1
What is going on here? Journeyman Kiwis, Kevin Brown in the halves, Chris Bridge in the centres. All the ingredients for an 8th place finish. We’re pretty sure its a flash in the pan, but his early season heroics have seen his Flush odds soar. He’s got a few more years at Hogwarts before he attains Powell-status, but barring a late bottom four bid, that angry broken face is holding the reins for the rest of this season.
Shaun Wane 25/1
Wigan are dull as shit, and he should get sacked, but you can’t get rid of Wane after bashing Saints in the derby.
Daryl Powell 50/1
Powell is a wizard. Professor Dumbledore couldn’t have taken Cas to the top 4 with that team, and he’s probably going to do it again. You can bet Paul Wood’s remaining testicle on it.