NSW Coaching Conundrum
In the wake of Queensland’s unprecedented seventh straight win in this year’s State of Origin series, the New South Wales Rugby League is going through the process of figuring out how to stop the rot.
NSW officials haven't ruled out approaching a club-contracted NRL coach to replace Ricky Stuart as they continue their search for the man to end Queensland's reign.
NSWRL general manager Geoff Carr and chairman John Chalk are embarking on a mission to sort fact from fiction - and work out exactly which of the proposed coaches actually want to take on the enormous task of ending Queensland's seven-year dominance.
Since Stuart accepted the job of Parramatta's head coach from 2013 onwards, many candidates have been tossed up as his potential successor.
Recent betting markets have former champion Blues five-eighth Laurie Daley as the new favorite, while Canterbury-Bankstown assistant Jim Dymock, Blues assistant Trent Barrett and City coach Brad Fittler are all considered a strong chance.
Carr says the search will involve contacting anyone who has been mooted as an option - ranging from those linked by media speculation to those who are simply the best credentialed.
Despite Stuart standing down from the Blues so soon after accepting the Eels gig, and the report from two years ago finding a full-time coach would be preferable to someone also performing a club job, Carr said no one was off limits.
That means the likes of Bulldogs coach Des Hasler, Melbourne's Craig Bellamy and even rookies Michael Maguire of South Sydney and Geoff Toovey of Manly would be considered.
It is understood some board members have made it clear club commitments should not prevent the best coach being approached.
"I'm contacting everybody that has been speculated on in the media or otherwise as a prospective NSW coach," Carr said on Thursday.
"So then I can come up with a definitive list of who the board should be considering.
"Before the board can consider any of these people, they've at least got to know whether they're interested in the job.
"So I'm trying to work through all those people and contact them in person about issues around Origin coaching."
While there is no definitive time for the board to reconvene, it is understood members expect to discuss the findings of the search before their next meeting scheduled for early September.
NSW's finest Origin coach, Phil Gould, said he has not been approached but would decline the job, if it were offered.
And Gould said it made sense to put a club coach in charge of the Blues.
"Your best coaches are coaching club teams," Gould told reporters. "Ricky's done a great job and now he's got a club job and suddenly he can't be the coach. I can't agree with that."