2022-04-22 03:34:00

After six rounds the heat is on six NRL coaches who have failed to meet expectations in 2022.

The Knights, Raiders, Dragons, Broncos, Tigers and Bulldogs have all won two games or less but their respective coaches haven’t shared the same level of scrutiny.

Michael Maguire has borne the brunt of the criticism, but by the end of Round 7 his Tigers could be ahead of Ricky Stuart’s Raiders, despite the Canberra legend’s job status barely rating a mention this year.

The re-signing of coach Anthony Girffin before a ball had been kicked looks like it could come back to hurt the Dragons, while the Knights need to snap a four-game losing streak now the Ponga fiasco is over.

Former champion players Trent Barrett and Kevin Walters are quickly finding out it’s a lot harder to influence games from the coach’s box.

Trent Barrett, Kevin Walters and Michael Maguire. Getty.Source: FOX SPORTS

There’s next to no chance all six of these coaches will see out the season and there’s plenty waiting in the wings to take their jobs.

Premiership-winning coaches Shane Flanagan and Paul Green still have the fire in the belly, while Billy Slater, Cameron Ciraldo, Jason Ryles, Marc Brentnall, Kristian Woolf and Steve McNamara are all crying out for a chance to prove themselves in the NRL.

Here are the NRL coaches under the most pressure after six rounds.

Finucane could miss multiple weeks | 01:42

MICHAEL MAGUIRE

Age: 48

Joined club: 2019

Contracted until: 2023

Win record at Tigers: 36%

Finals appearances at the club: 0

Next five games: Rabbitohs, Dragons, Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Bulldogs

The embattled Wests Tigers coach breathed an enormous sigh of relief when Jackson Hastings’ long-range field goal sailed over to clinch victory on Easter Monday.

But the much-needed win will only buy Maguire a few weeks and two more losses will put his head squarely back on the chopping block.

It would take a stunning turnaround for Maguire to see out the year, let alone his contract which expires at the end of next season.

Yes, switching Hastings to halfback and Luke Brooks to No. 6 was dubbed “a masterstroke” but there are still plenty off issues with his side.

Nine teams in the NRL era have a started the season with the Tigers’ current record (1-5) and gone on to win the wooden spoon.

Maguire has enough to work with to avoid adding to that statistic, but Hastings would have to turn into Benji Marshall circa 2005 if the Tigers are going to make the top eight.

The smart money has Maguire being tapped by Round 15, but he’ll be allowed to see out the season as the incoming coach prepares for 2023.

Terrific Talakai guides Sharks to win | 02:05

TRENT BARRETT

Age: 44

Joined club: 2021

Contracted until: 2023

Win record at Bulldogs: 13%

Finals appearances at the club: 0

Next five games: Broncos, Roosters, Raiders, Knights, Tigers

A few days after the Bulldogs lost their fifth straight game, Trent Barrett lost four players to Covid as his already overflowing casualty ward ballooned again.

The Dogs can’t take a trick at the moment but there’s no disputing they’ve only marginally improved this season despite opening the cheque book to the tune of $3 million.

Matt Burton, Josh Addo-Carr, Tevita Pangai Junior, Paul Vaughan, Matt Dufty and Brent Naden were the headline recruits over the summer but they’re yet to make a significant impact.

The Bulldogs trumpeted the return of rugby league supremo Phil Gould as its head of football but the veteran has proved no silver bullet for the club.

Canterbury collected the wooden spoon last year and after six rounds in 2022 they sit dead last again, with the worst attack and second-worst defence in the competition.

The star recruits coming next year, Reed Mahoney and Viliame Kikau, will be quietly wondering if they’ve made the right choice to leave their premiership-contending sides for a club clearly still struggling.

Mahoney and Kikau will likely playing under someone named something other than Barrett unless the former superstar player can dramatically turn things around at Belmore.

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KEVIN WALTERS

Age: 54

Joined club: 2021

Contracted until: 2023

Win record at Broncos: 30%

Finals appearances at the club: 0

Next five games: Bulldogs, Sharks, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Knights

The man who spent 20 years trying to get the Broncos top job after his illustrious playing career at the club is quickly finding out footy isn’t as fun from the coach’s box.

The 54-year-old, who won five premierships playing at the Broncos, joined just one month after the club clinched its first ever wooden spoon in 2020.

Walters has overhauled Brisbane’s roster since arriving and the results have improved – but at a glacial pace.

A shaky start in Walters’ rookie season turned into a promising finish, but Brisbane haven’t taken that next step in 2022.

The Broncos won their opening two games against the Rabbitohs and Bulldogs but they’ve been on a slide since.

The Cowboys gave Brisbane a bath in Round 3 which triggered a four-game losing streak, including a spanking at the hands of Penrith last weekend

The Broncos have leaked the fourth-most points in the competition and Walters will have to revamp their attitude in defence if he wants to keep his job and steer the club to finals.

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ANTHONY GRIFFIN

Age: 55

Joined club: 2021

Contracted until: 2023

Win record at Dragons: 33%

Finals appearances at the club: 0

Next five games: Roosters, Tigers, Storm, Titans, Warriors

The Dragons finally beat a team that wasn’t the Warriors with a hard-fought over the Knights last weekend.

Remarkably, it was their first win over an Australian team since Round 15 last year – a span of 15 matches.

But Anthony Griffin still has plenty to prove to justify a controversial contract extension on the even of the 2022 season.

The powers that be at St George decided to extend Griffin before a ball had been kicked this year so his contract wouldn’t become a distraction for the club.

Griffin’s recruiting approach has been to sign former representative players on the cheap, in some cases by getting them from rival clubs before their long-term deals have ended.

It saw the Dragons land Moses Mbye, Aaron Woods, Andrew McCullough, George Burgess and Jaydn Su’A.

But the tactic hasn’t paid dividends with several pundits pointing out there’s a reason those guys don’t play representative football anymore.

“Desperate” Dolphins missed targets | 04:29

ADAM O’BRIEN

Age: 44

Joined club: 2020

Contracted until: 2024

Win record at Knights: 48%

Finals appearances at the club: 2020, 2021

Next five games: Eels, Storm, Cowboys, Bulldogs, Broncos

The Knights have lost four in a row but this they week finally put to bed the circus around the future of Kalyn Ponga.

Adam O’Brien publicly stood by his captain but must have been growing increasingly frustrated at the distraction the situation was causing each week.

Now it’s put to bed, we’ll find out if Ponga’s hesitancy to sign was the issue or if Newcastle are just another underperforming football team.

The Knights have struggled in attack this season, averaging just 14.6 points per game which is only ahead of the bottom three sides – Broncos, Tigers and Dogs.

The Knights have one of the most formidable packs in the competition and O’Brien needs to get them firing on a consistent basis to give Ponga the time and space he needs.

O’Brien has led the Knights to consecutive finals series for the first time since 2003 but a third straight 7th-place finish will only just scrape as a pass mark.

The club sits 11th on the ladder with two wins after six rounds and if they miss the finals this season the noise surrounding O’Brien will grow louder.

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Dolphins expected to pursue Munster | 01:22

RICKY STUART

Age: 55

Joined club: 2014

Contracted until: 2023

Win record at Raiders: 50%

Finals appearances at the club: 2016, 2019, 2020

Next five games: Panthers, Warriors, Bulldogs, Sharks, Rabbitohs

The Canberra legend set to become the longest-serving coach in Raiders history later this season must be getting close to walking away – on his terms.

But that will never happen.

If Ricky Stuart was content with numbers and records he wouldn’t be where he is today.

Stuart is one of the most competitive people in the history rugby league and the only way to displace him at the Raiders would be to claw the coaching reins from his cold, dead hands.

The man who won three premierships for the Green Machine as a player – including their last in 1994 – also coached the club to its first grand final in 25 years in 2019.

Canberra fell agonisingly short that day against the Roosters – the club where Stuart won a premiership in his rookie coaching season back in 2002 – in a loss he openly admits he’ll never fully get over.

Stuart will ignore the experts who all agree Canberra’s premiership window is closed, but the numbers don’t lie and a worrying trend is creeping back into their game.

The Raiders developed a reputation in 2017 as the ‘Faiders’ for relinquishing big leads and last weekend they surrendered a second doubled-digit lead this season – and for the eighth time since 2020 which is the most in the NRL.

Stuart is in his ninth season at the helm in Canberra and in that peroid the club has only played finals three times.

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“Where’s the courtesy call?!” | 05:00

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Source by [graycupnews.com]

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