The obituaries have all been penned on the New Zealand Warriors' dismal season, so it's time to look forward and dream a little about the possibilities for next year.
Warriors HQ have signaled their intentions to scout out a "super-coach" to lead their team next season, and there are probably four or five bonafide options hanging around the NRL coaching boxes at the moment.
Before I compare my top two picks, let's rule out Wayne Bennett, Desmond Hasler and Brian Smith.
Bennett can't live outside of Australia for long periods due to his need to fly back to Brisbane regularly.
While Hasler has only just started creating a new dynasty at the Bulldogs, so it would be near impossible to pry him out of that position.
And Brian Smith has effectively ruled himself out after leading the Roosters to consecutive years out of the top 8.
That leaves Craig Bellamy and Tim Sheens.
Bellamy has been lucky to be blessed with some of the greatest players to ever don a jersey.
But he's also molded a bunch of journeymen and no-names into a disciplined mean-spirited unit who produce the goods time and time again.
The rumour mill suggests that Cooper Cronk has a clause in his contract that he will move wherever Bellamy moves.
So if the Warriors want 'Belly-ache' then they may need space in their salary cap for Cronk.
Bellamy would bring a discipline and consistency never seen before at Penrose. But he'd also be surly with the media and pick a few more Australians than Brian McClennan did.
His sides have generally played quite a dour style of football aimed at sucking the life out of their opposition, rather than trying to entertain fans with thrilling interplay, despite having talents like Cronk.
The other possible super-coach is Tim Sheens.
He seems to be struggling to inspire his Wests Tigers side to match their feats from the mid-2000s. But Sheens tends to produce exciting teams who play with width and speed and his four Premiership titles are a testament to that. He also has a proven record for turning around under-performing clubs which fits the Warriors current state.
And there's a chance he could entice Benji Marshall to follow him across the Tasman.
So not much separates the pair.
Both Sheens and Bellamy would need to be bought out of their contracts, both coaches could bring a world-class halve to partner and mentor Shaun Johnson, and both have the pedigree to bring a Premiership home.
But Sheens would allow a bit more razzle-dazzle which is important in a two-code town like Auckland, where the off-field impression is just as important as the on-field results.
So if all the stars could be aligned to bring about a Johnson/Marshall combo - my vote would tipped in Tim Sheen's favour.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Post a comment