Thinking outside the Box: Smith

By Daniel Andruczyk

Last week was a week of turmoil at the Sydney Roosters. Their coach, Brian Smith was given the boot after another dismal season by the Chooks. The players at the Roosters found out about the sacking through a text message and looks like former player Trent Robinson will come in as the new coach. Robinson is at Catalans and has done a great job there to get the team into the top 4 of the Super League. But the question now remains, what will happen to Smith? What will Brian do now? There is some talk of him going to the Warriors but how about some out of the box thinking for Brian?

So, I am not here to write about the reasons why Smith was sacked, simply because I have no idea in reality of what went on there. But to have someone of Smiths skill out there, un used could be used in a great positive way. Coaches don;t fall under the salary cap and tend to get paid the big pucks for getting the best out of the team. It was reported that Smith’s contract was worth $4 million, so hopefully he put some of that away and can use it well to do something constructive for INTERNATIONAL Rugby League.

So how about this for an idea. Why not look to becoming a full time National Rugby League coach for a developing nation or even nations? Now I realise that the World Cup is next year and all the qualified countries have their coaches already set in stone. But why doesn’t Smith look to really take one of the minnow nations under his wing, look at their domestic players and put them through their rigours. It’s going back to the basics for him, but if you look at recent photos of Smith I think he has lost some of that passion for the sport, this could get it back for him.

Smith, could take, lets say the Czech’s as an example, and look to work with them to qualify for the 2017 World Cup. He could live there for the duration of the domestic comp, which is during summer there and is absolutely spectacular, plus is a cheap country to live in. Yes, Smith would not be paid to start with, it would be all of his own back, but he could have a real influence maybe into the structure of the game and how to get sponsors and money come in, maybe eventually have things semi-pro there where he, admin and players do get paid something?

This could apply to any nation in reality however. How about one of the Pacific Island nations, Imagine if he can coach Fiji or PNG to a world Cup final, or should I dare say it a win? It may be a pipe dream and everyone says I am mad for suggesting it, but its thinking out of the box. Maybe it can be seen for Smith a holiday, a break, from the rigours of the NRL, get maybe some of that love an passion for the game back.

It would be a great “experiment” to see what a full time, top coach, can really do for a small developing nation if he were able to spend time with the players and help develop the sport in that country.


From Phil Caplan

Warrington Wolves’ Youth Development team will enter into a formal partnership with Rugby League Deutschland (RLD) following a successful visit to the Heidelberg region by John Bastian.

Rugby League Deutschland Development Manager Uwe Jansen was delighted with the start of what promises to be a highly valuable relationship for the sport in Germany.

“I want to thank John and the Warrington Wolves for giving us the opportunity to present ourselves,” Jansen said.

“It was one of the best experiences German Rugby League has had. I am certain we will all profit from this partnership, especially the support for our youth development which is the key to long term success for the game here.

“We’ve installed a four year development plan for our boys, those born from 1996-1999.These players are the base of the first generation of Germany’s purely Rugby League playing seniors of the future.”

Jansen is leading on the registration of Rugby League departments in local omni-sports clubs and the establishment of a youth league which will commence in September with under-16 and under-18 sides and will see a significant increase in participation and activity.

“Rugby League in general must embrace the progress of the sport within Europe,” said Wolves Director of Youth Development Bastian, “and I would encourage other Super League clubs to create and develop partnerships that can help the progress of the game.

“On behalf of the club I would like to thank the Rugby League European Federation for giving us this marvellous opportunity.”

His four-day trip gave him an insight into the culture, environment and German way of life and to gain an understanding of the stage of development Rugby League in Germany is at.

The areas of ongoing support will include: educating the coaches, providing tactical and technical knowledge, developing skills, supporting strength and conditioning and backing the junior development and community game.

Bastian added: “The German people are very enthusiastic about creating sporting opportunities linked alongside strong family values and good education for their children.

“I found them and the youngsters to be very disciplined and very respectful in how they conducted themselves throughout my stay.

“They were very pro-active and, under the guidance of Uwe, are working hard to develop and progress Rugby League within the German sporting culture.

“We at Warrington Wolves will look to help progress and educate Uwe and his team of coaches alongside the young players who show so much enthusiasm in wanting to improve their knowledge and understanding of the sport.

Bastian continued, “I must also mention that Serbia, who were involved in a two-game under-16s international series against Germany, were also a credit in how they conducted themselves throughout the festival.”

RLEF General Manager Danny Kazandjian is keen to see the partnership evolve into something substantial over the coming years.

“Warrington has always been an enthusiastic supporter of developing the international game and we are really grateful for John’s involvement,” he commented.

“Last year the Wolves hosted two players from Saudi schools, and we felt the club was the perfect partner for a more extensive collaboration with RLD, considering their focus on long-term youth development.

“Every level of the game in Germany will benefit from this relationship and our first focus will be on ensuring that RLD establishes a structure that will ensure more German Rugby League players are participating more often than ever before. That’s the priority. Further to that, Germany’s coaching personnel will benefit from the expertise of John and his colleagues.”


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