Our View

The Herald on Sunday editorial

Herald on Sunday editorial: Come on Aussie, come on, come on. Please

7 comments
Robbie Deans, Quade Cooper (centre) and Scott Higginbotham discuss tactics at the Wallabies captains' run. Photo / Getty Images
Robbie Deans, Quade Cooper (centre) and Scott Higginbotham discuss tactics at the Wallabies captains' run. Photo / Getty Images

It's a hard thing to admit on the weekend we have the Wallabies in town for a Bledisloe Cup test with the All Blacks. But it is time to be honest and acknowledge something.

We need an Aussie. At least in rugby league.

Not just any Australian, of course, but one who is also a seriously good league coach.

The desperate dive of the New Zealand Warriors this year has confirmed what canny observers of the game have thought for a long time: the owners of the Warriors cannot afford to take a punt on Kiwi coaches who have not performed at NRL level.

Sadly, that leaves the cupboard bare, unless the sickly Graham Lowe can be coaxed back again. We're joking about a Lowe comeback, of course, but that's how bare the national ranks are as Owen Glenn and Eric Watson consider who should replace Brian McClennan, who resigned this week after a helpful shove from behind on to his own sword.

It is no coincidence that the two times the Warriors have made the National Rugby League grand final (2002 and 2011), they have been steered there by flinty Australian coaches, Daniel Anderson and then Ivan Cleary.

Not one of the four New Zealanders to have coached the Warriors - Frank Endacott, Mark Graham, Tony Kemp and McClennan - have a winning ratio of more than 40 per cent. Cleary, Anderson and foundation coach John Monie (an Englishman) have virtually 50 per cent or better winning ratios.

It is fair to note that in appointing Cleary in 2006, he did not have a huge resume. Two years out of a top playing career, he won a premiership with the Sydney Roosters B side, and was Kemp's assistant at the Warriors for one year.

The club took a chance, and with patience he finally got them to the final last year. Why didn't McClennan get similar leeway? Things have changed, markedly. The new ownership arrangements are key to that. No longer is being competitive enough. The talk around Mt Smart Stadium is of building a dynasty.

It's the sort of talk sports fans love. Weekends in Auckland are much better through winter when the Warriors are firing. And with the depth of largely Polynesian talent coming through, there is no reason we can't have success consistently. So long as the right man is in charge.

And he has to be an Aussie, as hard as it is to put in writing.

- Herald on Sunday

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 31 Oct 2014 19:21:40 Processing Time: 559ms