When the Canberra Raiders appointed Ricky Stuart as head coach for season 2014 on a long term deal I wrote an open letter to him where I requested the following for this season:
Coach the team to play every game hard and for 80 minutes and drop any player who does not do so.
If a player breaches team rules or is ill disciplined sack him. This includes any infractions related to alcohol. Another “Dugan / Ferguson” fiasco must not be countenanced.
If a player does not wish to play for our club and notes in the media that he wants to move elsewhere sack him. Another situation like that which Anthony Milford has placed the team in must not be countenanced.
Keep the young talent in the under 20s team in Canberra and sign them for the long term.
Still be the coach in 2015.
Off the back of two games in a row where my team has gifted the opposition the victory conceding over 50 points it is pretty clear that the first imperative is not being met by Coach Stuart. That has left me to wonder whether the final imperative I requested is realistic or even wanted by either the club or the fans.
The fact that we are again seeing what I have termed the Ricky Stuart effect with the Canberra Raiders this season. The “effect” is simple: Stuart is not an improver of teams rather he is a destroyer. Look at his record (as I did in this post https://shumpty77.com/2013/09/03/canberra-raiders-the-search-for-a-new-coach-and-the-ricky-stuart-conundrum/ ) and show me a team he has improved. You will not be able too.
Now consider the Raiders of recent years and compare them to the rabble of 2014: the squad is not that different to previous years but on current form the wooden spoon looks the only realistic outcome. That is certainly a regression for a team that two years ago was 6th on the ladder and in the finals and last year won 10 games. I would be astonished if, on current form, the Raiders win another game.
Few coaches would survive two 50 point thrashings in a row but Ricky Stuart will as he is the teflon man of NRL coaching (imagine if Matt Elliott got the chances Stuart has). That being the case it is ridiculous to suggest that he should be sacked immediately. Equally, as a Raiders fan I have written off this season and, if you haven’t yet, you should too. I have also written off Ricky Stuart as coach for 2015 because I do not want my team to get any worse.
The next coach must be:
1. a leader of men;
2. a winner; and
3. a coach that improves his team.
Are Craig Bellamy or Wayne Bennett available?