26 Rounds is admittedly extremely late to the McNamara party thanks to a workload that a plow horse would find excessive. Cue the tearjerker music, and hand this writer a Kleenex.
It’s a shame, because the appointment was/is a noteworthy one; one that is worthy enough of a significantly late look.
(Yes, this is not news anymore; it’s been broken for the past week. I don’t like to call this “late to the party writing” however; more “as the dust settles analysis”. Or something of that nature.)
England’s national rugby league team coach, Steve McNamara — whose squad lost to New Zealand in the final seconds of the World Cup semi-finals — has been appointed to the Roosters as an assistant coach to premiership honcho Trent Robinson.
The appointment, clearly, is significant; the Roosters now have one of the deepest rosters in both the coaching and playing ranks in the NRL.
First off, how are the Roosters going to play Kane Evans, Frank-Paul Nu’uasala, Dylan Napa, Remi Casty, Mitch Aubusson, Isaac Liu and Daniel Mortimer off the bench?
Not only is this evidence of depth, it’s a problem any coach would like to have.
Thankfully, the Roosters have the best coaching staff in the game if you are looking at resumes alone.
First, Trent Robinson. You probably know all this already, but he was the defensive coach of the Roosters in 2010 under Brian Smith and was integral to the club’s rise from a wooden spoon to the Grand Final that year. He then took a job with Catalans Dragons in Super League, dragging the club to a semi-final berth in 2012 before being offered a job replacing Brian Smith at the Roosters in 2013 when the club won their first premiership in 11 years.
The Roosters also scored when the Parramatta Eels passed on signing Jason Taylor as head coach. In his first stint as a head coach — in a caretaker role at Parra in 2006 — he managed a 10-6 record before taking on the role at South Sydney in 2007 and leading the club to its first finals berth since 1989. He was then named NYC coach for the Roosters, with the youngsters making the playoffs each year he was in charge.
Last year he became the attacking coach of the best attack in the NRL under Robbo, and all but had the Parramatta job sewn up before typical boardroom infighting led to a reversal of that club’s initial decision to hire him.
To finish off the trifecta, we have Steve McNamara.
McNamara was a goal-kicking second rower back in the day for Hull, Bradford, Wakefield Trinity and Huddersfield, scoring 33 tries with 530 goals and 11 field goals for 1,203 points in his career (1989 – 2003).
He then coached Bradford to the playoffs in 2007 but his coaching stint at the club is considered disappointing, leading to his sacking in 2010.
However, he coached the England squad to within a whisker of the World Cup Finals despite having the inferior squad to reigning World Cup holders New Zealand.
If he’s looking to learn from the best, then he has come to the right place. And much like the Roosters’interchange bench, the coaches box is looking a little crowded at the moment.
But these are good problems to have, and the Roosters are in pretty good shape for 2014 having lost just one regular first grader (Luke O’Donnell) but replacing him with a French dude (Casty), and losing one assistant coach (Paul Green) but replacing him with a national team coach.
Pretty good off-season so far, if you ask moi.