Situations Vacant-Coach Wanted

Coaching a National Rugby League club was once considered the pinnacle of the profession.

At least, that's how it appeared until the Wests Tigers got involved.

Now one has to wonder.

The Tigers' seem to be single-handedly debunking the theory with their forlorn chase for a new coach.

The club has already been rejected by two candidates - St Helens boss Ian Millward and Brisbane performance director Craig Bellamy.

If that wasn't bad enough, current assistant Paul Langmack pulled out of the race before he could even be offered the job.

Surely it can't be this difficult to find a coach.

After all, only 15 prized spots are available in the NRL.

Coaching an NRL side is a volatile profession and jobs tend to become available on a yearly basis, but it's not so capricious that coaches can afford to knock back opportunities.

Which makes you wonder what Millward and Bellamy were thinking.

Both cited personal reasons for their change of minds, but there's little doubt the Tigers' inability to stay away from controversy had an impact.

The club isn't exactly the NRL's flagbearer after several well-documented unsavoury incidents in its short existence.

But think back to October 2000 when an unknown assistant named Daniel Anderson took over the reins at the New Zealand Warriors.

The NZ side was broke, clueless and scratching around for players.

They had only 10 footballers on contract when they offered Anderson the position, but he had no hesitation in accepting it.

Anderson would have swum across the Tasman if it meant getting to Auckland sooner.

Now he presides over one of the NRL's standard-bearers, destined for a place in the top four and a legitimate premiership contender.

And all that in just over 18 months.

It's something for the few remaining prospective Tigers coaches to think about as they await an offer from the club.

And whoever is next in line will have a clear head-start on Anderson.

At least the Tigers have a solid playing staff and some semblance of financial credibility.

Okay, the place isn't exactly in tip-top shape.

The tail has occasionally wagged the Tiger in recent years, illustrated by senior players coming out in support of Langmack, a move which helped scare away Bellamy.

And the Tigers' coaching position has already claimed two scalps in its three-year history - Wayne Pearce and Terry Lamb.

Pearce jumped, while Lamb didn't have the opportunity.

He was pushed after forcing the club to make a decision on his position.

Lamb could be forgiven for sitting back now with a smile on his face as he watches the club fumble the ball when it comes to his replacement.

Tigers officials claim they want to get the right person to take the club forward.

That person appeared to be Millward and then Bellamy.

Who's next?

The list starts with New Zealand national coach Gary Freeman and includes premiership winning coach Tim Sheens, formerly of Canberra and North Queensland, Wests first division coach Bob Lindner and another Parramatta assistant in Shane Flanagan.

There has also been rumblings that Langmack may re-enter the race.

Whoever it is, the Tigers need to find the right person soon, with their credibility fast eroding.

And this time they'll be hoping it's a case of third time lucky.