Burning new year issues NRL coaches must resolve

Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett.
Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett. DAVE HUNT

RUGBY LEAGUE: In this age of total professionalism in sport, NRL coaches more than likely don't bother with the token and usually fruitless exercise of making new year resolutions.

And that is understandable. With so many resources at their beck and call, fate should only play a small part in their fortunes.

But if the 16 NRL coaches did sit in a quiet spot yesterday morning and contemplate the new season, below might be a sample of what the fans believe the respective coaches need to resolve.

Wayne Bennett (Broncos): Resign from the England coaching job and concentrate exclusively on the Broncos, whose youthful roster needs your total attention and expertise.

Ricky Stuart (Raiders): Smile more Ricky, and at least pretend you are enjoying what looks like being a red-letter season in the national capital.

Des Hasler (Bulldogs): Forget the outdated theory that big is beautiful and allow the attacking Dogs' halves to play more footy. And find a reliable goalkicker.

Shane Flanagan (Sharks): Pay Leeds what they want to release James Segeyaro. The Sharks will not go back-to-back without a commanding dummy half.

Neil Henry (Titans): Fielding an impressive roster following an off-season buying splurge, defence must become a priority. Conceding 20 points a game will never win a premiership.

Trent Barrett (Sea Eagles): Having signed no one of note yet losing, among others, veteran Jamie Lyon, rookie Barrett needs a miracle, not advice. Hopefully the talented Trbojevic brothers will bring some joy.

Craig Bellamy (Storm): Bite the bullet and move Cameron Munster to five-eighth, where he played as a junior. He can have no better on-field mentor than Cooper Cronk.

Nathan Brown (Knights): Remain patient, continue rebuilding the shambles and keep remembering that Rome was not built in a day.

Paul Green (Cowboys): Release Kalyn Ponga to the Knights immediately. Keeping a player who wants to leave merely creates a negative vibe within the playing and coaching group.

Brad Arthur (Eels): A year free of any controversy, on and off the field, would be nice, but Vai Toutai's run-in with a Rebels motorcycle gang member - and consequent sacking - has already crushed that hope.

Anthony Griffin (Panthers): With the big money splashed out on James Tamou, the man called Hook hopes the sacked Kangaroos prop proves to be the building block Panthers boss Phil Gould believes him to be.

Michael McGuire (Rabbitohs): Find a reliable five-eighth and stick with him. A spine of Greg Inglis, Adam Reynolds and Robbie Farah does not need the No.6 to be a star.

Paul McGregor (Dragons): With halfback Drew Hutchison gone for the season and Jack De Belin and Mose Masoe also already on the injured list, the under-pressure coach wants nothing more than a fair crack of the whip.

Trent Robinson (Roosters): Having tamed Jake Friend and Blake Ferguson and turned them into internationals, the sharp-as-a-tack Robinson should set his sights on bad boy Paul Carter, who can be a match winner.

Stephen Kearney (Warriors): As the 11th Warriors coach in 22 years, Kearney yearns merely for consistency from the talented Kiwi powerhouse. A fit and healthy Kieran Foran would be handy, too.

Jason Taylor (Tigers): Boasting one of the most exhilarating backlines in the competition, developing the talented Jamal Idris to be explosive on the edge for the Tigers is Taylor's greatest challenge.

Topics:  nrl 2017 sportopinion tony durkin

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