Off the Wall

It is hard to dispute Phil "Buzz" Rothfield's assessment in the Telegraph that just five of the current NRL coaches are guaranteed being in their position in a year's time.

Daniel Anderson has been shown the door already and there are a couple of more coaches who will make it to the start of the 2011 season but might not see the season out.

According to Rothfield the only coaches guaranteed to be in place in a year's time are John Cartwright, Brian Smith, Craig Bellamy, Des Hasler, and Stephen Kearney have a secure future beyond the 2011 season.

He does not include Wayne Bennett because he is off contract at the end of next season - but if he seeks an extension the Dragons will unquestionably give it to him, and pay him more.

The coaches who Rothfield regards as cactus are Ivan Henjak, and John Lang. Neil Henry, Shane Flanagan and Matt Elliott are not much safer.

There is one group that will be cheering at the news coaching instability is greater than ever - overpaid, underperforming and overrated players!

Does anyone seriously believe that the Eels poor performance this year was due entirely to Anderson's coaching?

You have to ask whether the coaching roundabout, or carousel, as Rothfield calls it, is good for the game.

The more the focus is on coaches, and the less job security they have, then the more players who are not worth what they are earning can feel relaxed and comfortable.

Ivan Henjak is being death ridden by sections of the Brisbane media, yet no one asks about players who did not pull their weight this year.

Every time the Broncos outgoing, and now incoming, CEO's front the media, Henjak's future is front and centre. The Broncos have found a unique way to respond - Henjak is being sent off in the near future to the Denver Broncos on a two week education programme, with the CEO saying why would the club do that if it was planning to sack him.

One aspect of the "coaches carousel" that has been overlooked is it simply confirms that contracts are not worth the paper they are written on!

The expectations placed on coaches in the NRL today are greater than they have ever been. If a team does not make the finals, the future of the coach is put under review. For the most part, underperforming players duck the scrutiny they should get along with the coaches.

Is that fair and balanced? Not for one minute!

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