How important are Asst. Coaches today.

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Woodsie

Feast yer eyes ..
Tipping Member
I have no idea who Bobby fultons asst coaches were ... did he have any?

But here we are now celebrating the appointments of Flannagan and Dymock as champions .... are they that important.

How assistant coaches became one of the hottest commodities in the NRL​

Story by Mark Molyneux • Yesterday 7:35 pm

The constant churn of coaching positions in the NRL is generally accepted as a necessary evil across the landscape of the competition. The cut-throat nature of the top job showcased when a losing streak commences, and the only answer seems to be anything but unwavering loyalty to the current man in charge.

Assistant coaches have been all the rage for replacements, with an increasing number scooping up the vacancies ahead of more experienced candidates. The coaching food chain has undergone a significant shift as the familiar faces of the past have been usurped.

There is a certain lineage in the appointments which can be traced back to a few select men within the game.

MORE: The ‘development philosophy’ behind Brad Arthur’s new coaching set-up at Parramatta

Jason Demetriou served an apprenticeship at South Sydney under Wayne Bennett before being handed the reins. Kristian Woolf is set to repeat this formula at the Dolphins when he takes over from Bennett a few years from now.

Craig Fitzgibbon emerged from out of the shadow of Trent Robinson to takeover at the Sharks. Justin Holbrook was another Robinson assistant who journeyed around the houses - via St Helens - before landing on the Gold Coast.

Adam O’Brien and Brad Arthur both graduated from Craig Bellamy's school of hard knocks, with the Melbourne mentor himself tracing back to Bennett just like how Anthony Griffin does. And on and on the connections go.

“Club success and team success generally dictate individual success,” Fitzgibbon told The Bye Round Podcast with James Graham.

Assistants in quality set-ups are currently some of the most sought-after coaches in the game. It is no coincidence that those with the pedigree from an NRL powerhouse are being viewed in such elevated terms.

“As a coach, you need to be involved in a successful system,” Fitzgibbon explained.

“If you look at other clubs you can see where there are good systems in play.

“The reputation of Robbo being such a strong coach and an educator – that helped me.

“Freddy [Brad Fittler] giving me a crack with the Blues really helped as well. That sort of got me access to some other players that might have enjoyed the coaching there.

“Ultimately, most of it comes from good operating systems and good head coaches.”

The glut of recent appointments has often seen the eschewing of head coaching experience that was often thought of as a necessity in the past.

Clubs are now more willing to bypass that previous prerequisite and take a chance on prospects who have been inside successful organisations. Perhaps, in the hope they can impart some of the wisdom gleaned from some of the best operators in the game.

The majority of them emanate from a small group of head coaches who have effectively rubberstamped their ability to handle the pressure that comes with being the main man.

“Tim Sheens- how many coaches have come out from underneath him?” Fitzgibbon posed, with Benji Marshall the latest cab off the rank.

“Craig Bellamy- how many guys have come out of his coaching? There is Robbo. There’s Wayne.

“There are a handful of guys who have managed to filter out some coaches, so that’s probably the link that gets formed.”

Ivan Cleary has undoubtedly muscled his way into this conversation due to the relentless winning machine he has presided over in Penrith.

Trent Barrett rebuilt his reputation under him at the foot of the mountains and earned a fresh start at Canterbury, while Cameron Ciraldo and Andrew Webster have also been added to the coaching pool.

The fervour around Ciraldo to be an NRL head coach reached incredible levels last season with multiple clubs scrapping for his signature despite him having almost no experience in the role.

He eventually inked a five-year deal with the Bulldogs which was the lengthiest handed out to a rookie coach in the game's history.

He wasn’t the only Penrith assistant to depart though, with Webster venturing across the ditch to the Warriors.

The Panthers providing the clearest evidence yet that a successful system elevates those working within it to unprecedented heights.

Clearly, the prestige involved in being part of such a system is one of the key traits powerbrokers at clubs are now looking for when they make their most important coaching appointment.

“When you’re an assistant and you’re watching people make decisions, you can sort of sit back and go, ‘I’d do this or I’d do that’ but that costs you no energy at all,” Fitzgibbon said, when discussing the differences between being second-in-command and the head coach.

“When you’ve got to make the decisions, you’re lonely...At the end of the day, you want to be in control of decisions that influence your club.”

This is something Saints legend, Sean Long, touched on after embarking on his own head coaching career with Featherstone.

“I realised it was time for me to step up to the plate,” he told The Independent this week.

“I’ve got a couple of great coaches, but the buck stops with me.

“I had always been happy being an assistant, but for the last two or three years I’d been itching to pull the trigger.”

Assistants have always been viewed as a coach condensed down to its purist form- all skill drills and minimal baggage thanks to the lack of limelight and interference from boardroom figures in their work.

“Assistant coaching is pure footy coaching,” Fitzgibbon said.

“You don’t have to deal with the sideshow, if you will. It’s incredibly rewarding in a footy sense.

“Part of accepting a head coaching role though is if you take it on, you’ve got to give it everything. You can’t shortcut it. You’re playing with fire if you’re not all-in.”

The increasing responsibility of a head coach behind-the-scenes within a club has necessitated a handover of power that has allowed assistant coaches to flourish.

“At most clubs, it's the assistant who does most of the coaching,” David Furner told NRL.com.

“The head coach oversees and has to do media, connect with the CEO and board. So, I also think that's why the assistant's profile has become bigger.”

Four head coaches lost their job last season which was in keeping with the decade-long average of four sackings per year. Five were booted two years ago, with all five replaced by their assistants in interim roles.

Expect that to be mirrored in 2023, with the old guard being shuffled out as young assistant coaches from credentialed backgrounds continue to be the hottest commodity in the coaching world.
 
It's no wonder we were so bad this year with Des tied up doing managerial work, particularly with no CEO, the actual coaching/drills left in the hands of Randall, Monaghan and Hales. For mine the appointment of Flanagan is the key, leaving Seibs to do all the PR, comms stuff, Flanno can focus on doing what he does best without the "sideshow" as Fitzgibbon puts it
 
The central issue is whether the collective brains trust are working together. No two minds will always see eye to eye but a collaborative effort will be absorbed by the playing group. Sure if things go bad its the head coach in the target but he needs to utilise the resources he has at his disposal to the max. Big decisions like game plans and selections should be a discussion had by the coaching with effort and form rewarded. Gee I hope pick and stick is behind us. Every single player needs to think they have to earn their selection.
 
The central issue is whether the collective brains trust are working together. No two minds will always see eye to eye but a collaborative effort will be absorbed by the playing group. Sure if things go bad its the head coach in the target but he needs to utilise the resources he has at his disposal to the max. Big decisions like game plans and selections should be a discussion had by the coaching with effort and form rewarded. Gee I hope pick and stick is behind us. Every single player needs to think they have to earn their selection.
Your last sentence is the key to moving us forward , even with the team we have.

We know it didn’t happen with Des.

And we sincerely hope it doesn’t happen with the new crew!!
 
My opinion @Woodsie is that in the modern era you can no longer have one coach doing the lot.

It’s a completely different game to when Fulton was the coach.

You need man managers , defensive coaches, attacking coaches , wrestling coaches , fitness coaches , nutrition coaches , rehabilitation coaches and the list goes on.

Look at the list of staff they have , it’s enormous!!

And everyone is a specialist in that field.
 
It's no wonder we were so bad this year with Des tied up doing managerial work, particularly with no CEO, the actual coaching/drills left in the hands of Randall, Monaghan and Hales. For mine the appointment of Flanagan is the key, leaving Seibs to do all the PR, comms stuff, Flanno can focus on doing what he does best without the "sideshow" as Fitzgibbon puts it

What does this say about Dessie ... other than Toovey ... Dessie hasn't been known to employ and develop the next generation ...
 
My opinion @Woodsie is that in the modern era you can no longer have one coach doing the lot.

It’s a completely different game to when Fulton was the coach.

You need man managers , defensive coaches, attacking coaches , wrestling coaches , fitness coaches , nutrition coaches , rehabilitation coaches and the list goes on.

Look at the list of staff they have , it’s enormous!!

And everyone is a specialist in that field.

It would be fun to bump the thread with all the bagging Barrett copped for wanting to employ an asst coach and a salary cap manager.
 
It's no wonder we were so bad this year with Des tied up doing managerial work, particularly with no CEO, the actual coaching/drills left in the hands of Randall, Monaghan and Hales. For mine the appointment of Flanagan is the key, leaving Seibs to do all the PR, comms stuff, Flanno can focus on doing what he does best without the "sideshow" as Fitzgibbon puts it
yeah but did Dessie ever really empower his assistants to this level being described? I'm not thinking so.
 
What does this say about Dessie ... other than Toovey ... Dessie hasn't been known to employ and develop the next generation ...
You don't even have to be a Simpson with 4 fingers to list the Dessie coaching proteges. My opinion of Tooves (in a coaching sense) in this discussion has gone up as he was the only one in a decade to suceed as an assistant under Des.
 
It would be fun to bump the thread with all the bagging Barrett copped for wanting to employ an asst coach and a salary cap manager.
So does this mean Seibs has bettered Barrett already by getting Penn to unleash the purse strings in the coaching department from the get go or does Uncle Tony take all the cred for that?
 
So does this mean Seibs has bettered Barrett already by getting Penn to unleash the purse strings in the coaching department from the get go or does Uncle Tony take all the cred for that?

I think Dessie had already prised the lock on the vault ... Seib's is just plundering the remains ..

I also think the increased grants from the NRL .. and the fact that V'Landy's now has all 16 clubs showing a profit has also made a big difference ...
 
I think Dessie had already prised the lock on the vault ... Seib's is just plundering the remains ..

I also think the increased grants from the NRL .. and the fact that V'Landy's now has all 16 clubs showing a profit has also made a big difference ...
Dessie had prised it but all for himself!

For all of the criticism of V'Landys and Abdo and them fiddling with the rules, you can't fault them on the commercials and how they have turned the game and clubs around and survived covid. Look at the Tigpies and their promising trajectory with their new CoE and roster refresh. No club (business) went under during Covid.

Just goes to show that Greenburg would rather spend the cash than save it. I dislike him even more.
 
I think Dessie had already prised the lock on the vault ... Seib's is just plundering the remains ..

I also think the increased grants from the NRL .. and the fact that V'Landy's now has all 16 clubs showing a profit has also made a big difference ...
Your last paragraph is more the point , as we know Mr Fluffy doesn’t like spending $$$$ so this is all happening because there’s more money pouring in from the NRL.
 
Dessie had prised it but all for himself!

For all of the criticism of V'Landys and Abdo and them fiddling with the rules, you can't fault them on the commercials and how they have turned the game and clubs around and survived covid. Look at the Tigpies and their promising trajectory with their new CoE and roster refresh. No club (business) went under during Covid.

Just goes to show that Greenburg would rather spend the cash than save it. I dislike him even more.
Im not a fan of some of the rules but you cannot fault the new chums over the finances.
 
My experience, and I run a successful company, is that you are only as good as the people you employ and how much you engage them in what your objectives are for your business. If you don't, you'll fail (lack of continuity of staff, inconsistent messages and direction, inconsistent performance et al).

If everyone is engaged with what you are trying to achieve, from the top down, you will be successful and that's why 2IC's (or assistant coaches in NRL) are so important. The 'Top Dog' derives and manages the key objectives, with the assistance of his 2ICs, however, his 2ICs make it all happen.

Seibold is very defence orientated, and that's probably from his time with Bellamy, and he was the defence coach at Manly and hired for the UK English Rugby team as such, which you may laugh and say 'Well how good was that?', however, I remember we were pretty good in defence at the time when he was here.

A major mentor of mine's advice, and I live by it to this day, was to surround yourself with people who will strengthen your weaknesses and enhance your strengths, and I think that's why Seibold has Flanagan and Dymock. And, he also identified Daley as a crucial part of the puzzle, which unfortunately won't happen, however, I think Lozza's role was not only pathways, but also to help 'Shu' in his development and possibly Latu Fainu as well.

I think, from what I've seen so far, it all bodes well, however, we'll know far more after round 10 next year.
 
There simply weren't enough chairs.
See even that ... the lack of a chair says much more about how the club was being run as a Mickey mouse clusterfuk ... how embarrassing that the great club Arko built was being run by those incompetent fools.
 

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