For the men in the hot seat, it’s hard to cop but the NRL is simply a results-driven business, and at the end of the day there is always going to be at least eight coaches under pressure after an NRL season having missed the all-important finals series.
While some coaches and clubs have lower expectations than others, the proverbial axe is hovering over a few coaching careers at the moment, with some club boards coming out to announce that their coach has ‘the full support of the board’, which is as good as a death sentence in modern-day rugby league.
With Garth Brennan already out the door and Nathan Brown having been informed that he is surplus to requirements next season, the careers of Paul Green, Mary McGregor, and Stephen Kearney are all hanging in the balance.
With the Titans having already appointed the inexperienced Justin Holbrook to somehow save their sinking ship, and the Knights reportedly heavily interested in Roosters assistant coach Adam O’Brien, this has left me asking one question: how is Geoff Toovey still without a job?
In his four-year stint at the helm of his beloved Sea Eagles, Toovey led his team to three top-four finishes, featured in one grand final, one grand final qualifier and also possessed an impressive 58% win ratio.
Toovey is an old fashioned coach, with former player Steve Matai describing him to be someone who leads by example and takes no prisoners, telling the Sydney Morning Herald that “everything came from him and he wasn’t relying on his assistant coaches. He was the one who set the standards.”
While there is a minor blip on his record, that being his sacking from his boyhood club at the end of the 2015 season, in which they finished one win out of the finals, it ended up proving to be one of the more bizarre sackings in recent memory with numerous NRL fans questioning the Sea Eagles’ decision to sack the Manly-Warringah life member.
All things considered, Toovey has proven himself to be nothing short of a pure winner who doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is more than capable of producing impressive results with a shoe-string budget for both his football department and roster. I can think of a few clubs in need of a man who fits that job description at the moment.
With the Paul’s, McGregor and Green, treading on extremely thin ice, yet still possessing squads with an eye-catching balance of representative talent and promising youngsters, the Cowboys and Dragons could do worse than replace their struggling mentors with Toovey. A man has proven on multiple occasions that he can take a squad deep into the finals, something neither of those proud clubs has done for a few years.