Following Brian Smith’s exit from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Love Rugby League take a look at five potential replacements for the Australian at the Wildcats.
1. Chris Chester
This is possibly the most recent and obvious choice for the Wildcats given Chester’s recent departure from Hull Kingston Rovers.
Whilst Rovers struggled for consistency in Super League in 2015, Chester has displayed the ability to get the best out of players in big games by guiding the club to the Challenge Cup final in August, beating the likes of Wigan and Warrington along the way.
With a number of injuries to players in key positions at the KC Lightstream Stadium, Chester was always up against it in 2016 before his eventual exit and and could look to the job at Wakefield as a chance to prove his worth in keeping the Wildcats in Super League.
2. Paul Rowley
Another coach that the Wildcats could turn to is ex-Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley following his recent exit from the Leigh Sports Village.
The Centurions became the Championship‘s dominant side on the field with dominant performances in both the league, as well as Challenge Cup upsets against the likes of Salford Red Devils, attracting the attention of those in Super League as a side that could make the step up into the top division.
The Centurions eventually struggled in the Middle 8’s as they failed to gain a place into Super League, but there’s no doubting of Rowley’s ability as a head coach and the 40 year-old may be the catalyst the Wildcats’ need to get their 2016 season going.
3. Steve McNamara
McNamara has Super League experience with the Bradford Bulls, in which he guided them into play off series, and this experience and knowledge of the league could be key should they go the way of the Roosters assistant.
McNamara’s stock and reputation is quite high at the minute given England‘s recent series victory over New Zealand in the recent test series, and Wakefield may look to McNamara to push them into a club that isn’t fighting at the lower ends of Super League.
4. John Kear
Having spent time at the Wildcats between 2006-11, nobody is better placed than John Kear to know what it takes to get the Wildcats playing well on the field.
Kear has years of experience in coaching roles, and would no doubt offer his expertise to imrpove the Wildcats on the field should they choose Kear as Smith’s replacement.
5. Ivan Cleary
Since Cleary’s departure from the Penrith Panthers in 2015, the Australian has been looking to get back into coaching, and rumours in the media saying a return to former club New Zealand Warriors was on the cards which hasn’t materialised.
This could open a door for the Wildcats to make an offer to the 45 year-old, who almost joined the Huddersfield Giants over 12 years ago, to head to England to try his hand in Super League whilst he has no offers Down Under.
Although Cleary may be the most surprising name on this list, the Wildcats may decide to look towards another Australian to cement their place in Super League for 2017.