Keiron Cunningham has been relieved of his duties as St Helens head coach. It’s one of the top jobs in the game, so where will they look next? We take a look at five possible contenders.
Could the former England coach be in line for a return to Super League? Currently assistant at New Zealand Warriors, McNamara was heavily linked with the Hull KR job last season. He has been plying his trade Down Under for a few years with assistant jobs at Sydney Roosters and the Warriors, and the time could be right for him to go it alone. It may not be a popular appointment, not least because of his record with England, but also because of his below average stint at Bradford.
Another man connected to New Zealand Warriors who may be on Saints radar is ex-Hull KR coach Justin Morgan. The Australian former Wales international was with the Robins for seven years, leading them to Super League and establishing them in the top flight. He too has gained vast experience in the NRL as an assistant, namely with Canberra, Melbourne and the Warriors. With top jobs hard to come by in the NRL, he may be tempted to return to Super League in one of its biggest jobs.
Former St Helens prop Paul Anderson is available having parted company with Huddersfield last season. He is currently involved with the RFL and the England set-up, and brought silverware to the Giants as League Leaders. His time at the Giants petered out a little, but the way they have failed to pick up since his departure may suggest that there was more to it than his coaching credentials.
Recently sacked by Wests Tigers in the NRL, the former Souths and Parramatta chief might be one to consider for Saints, should they decide to go Down Under for their next appointment. Keiron Cunningham was only the second British coach to lead Saints in Super League, and the club enjoyed its best years under Ian Millward and Daniel Anderson, before being followed by Mick Potter, Royce Simmons and Nathan Brown. A lack of quality candidates on these shores may force Saints to go overseas once again, having tried and failed to promote from within.
An unlikely one, but it would be rude not to link the best coach in the business at the moment with the job at Saints. The way he’s got Castleford playing has got many fans purring, not least the Saints fans who have perhaps looked on enviously at the Tigers style of play reminding them of their great teams of the last decade. Regardless of a big money offer, Powell may feel that he can quite happily achieve what he wants by leading Castleford to silverware – something that you wouldn’t bet against given their start to the season.
Who else should Saints be looking at? Let us know in the comments below.