With a number of Super League’s coaches currently being touted for jobs down under, not to mention Michael Maguire’s decision to return to his native Australia in 2012, it would seem for all intents and purposes, that Super League is becoming a mere schooling league for Australia’s brightest coaching talents.
The attraction of a vibrant, youthful coach from ‘Down Under’ can prove luring, but with vast interest in increasing home grown participation levels of Rugby League in Britain, the same level of concern towards increasing the number of coaches could help improve the national game further.
The current franchise system in Super League has a stringent policy of ensuring our national team’s future, mainly due to the introduction of the ‘Club Trained Player’ ruling, which sets out to lower the number of oversees trained players in the squads of all Super League’s sides.
However, despite said rulings on the number of overseas players in the competition, there is very little being done to help bring young British coaches through the ranks, nor are many being given the chance to prove themselves at Super League level.
Of the 13 British teams in the competition, only 5 have a British Head Coach at the helm. This particular statistic speaks volumes for the lack of opportunities there are for young, home grown coaches in our sport’s elite competition.
However, if a club does have an overseas Head Coach, their assistant must be home grown. The opportunity to work alongside top coaches such as Messers, Maguire and Brown can only be beneficial for the likes of Shaun Wane and Paul Anderson. It is essential that the learning curve these guys go through under their mentors does not go to waste, and that they are essentially seen as a shoe in replacement for when their big name coach eventually goes elsewhere.
Nevertheless, with Michael Maguire revealing his return to the NRL in 2012, Wigan have the perfect opportunity to apply this theory and hire their own British coach at the DW Stadium.
Added to this, both Nathan Brown and Terry Matterson have both recently been subject to speculation regarding their future in England, meaning another two vacancies could possibly open up inside Super League.
Hiring a British coach in any of these positions would be a huge step towards a Super League where home grown coaching talent is valued as much as playing talent.
Australian coaches may be the ones to initially bring strength and glory to a side, but when their days are over, it would only be fair to see if their British counterparts can maintain the quality and eventually reinvent themselves as big name coaches too.