Why Barrett activates ‘domino’ NRL coaching merry-go-round as clubs compete for proven winners

Paul Kent believes the abolition of Trent Barrett is the start of the NRL coaching carousel for 2023 and beyond as struggling clubs compete for the best coaches on offer.

With two premiership winning coaches in Shane Flanagan and Paul Green available, clubs are reluctant to wait too long to secure their next coach for fear of missing out on the best coaches available.

“It’s a funny one because it’s like Barrett is the first domino to fall,” Kent said on NRL 360.

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“There are a lot of rumors going around at the moment. Brent Read came on the show and talked about Michael Maguire and the fact that the Tigers are going to see where they are after 13 rounds and he needs to be on 10 league points.

“Barrett has left, so now the Bulldogs are clearly looking for a coach. Shane Flanagan and Paul Green are the two most mentioned in that area. Brad Fittler is the other.

“Then today someone went around saying that the Titans were looking at Paul Green to take over the job there.

“That said, I spoke to Paul Green today and he said he has had no contact with the Titans and I spoke to Rebecca Frizell, the owner of the Titans and she said Justin Holbrook is very safe.”


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Shane Flanagan is one of two available premiership winners.Source: Getty Images

With the Bulldogs likely to chase Flanagan or Green as their next coach, the list of proven coaches available in the NRL has suddenly been reduced to one.

That’s why every club, whose future as a coach is uncertain, is doing a due diligence to see what’s out there and take steps before it’s too late.

“Once the dominoes start to fall, clubs don’t want to be left looking for a coach when the good ones have already been taken,” explains Kent.

“So now that Canterbury is active in the market and you have two premiership winning coaches in Flanagan and Green who are both currently unemployed and looking for work and have stated their intention to become head coach of the NRL.

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Paul Green would like to return to the NRL.Source: Getty Images

“So nobody wants to wait too long and nobody wants to tell their club’s coach that it might not be going well, mate, you have the rest of the year because they might not have time.

“You don’t want to go into the market and go to round 23 and say our guy probably can’t handle it, so who do we have? Green is now taken by someone and Flanagan is taken by someone, so who else is available?

“That’s it. It’s really kind of holding your nerves and seeing how you’re doing, both coaches and clubs.”

Paul Crawley believes it was inevitable that Green and Flanagan’s management would inquire about Bulldogs position, which is why other clubs should be thinking about the future of their own coach at the same time.

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“It’s a natural progression when Trent Barrett goes, if you take care of Flanagan or Green to ask some subtle questions to see if you’re encouraging a change,” Crawley said.

“That’s how this rumor mill gets started. It starts like this.

“You just have to look at the ladder to see that the Tigers are not doing well. They beat the Bulldogs over the weekend, but let’s face it, the Bulldogs are terrible.”

Dave Riccio revealed that he was chasing rumors that the Warriors wanted to fire Nathan Brown and while they weren’t true, he believes it’s a matter of moving first or potentially missing out.

“There are similar rumors I’ve picked up regarding the Warriors and Nathan Brown,” said Riccio.

“I picked up the phone from the Warriors executive team to inquire about Brown’s situation. For Kenty’s point, it’s not so much that the Warriors would want to move to Brown now.

“Should we move before another club does? Let’s face it, the coaching list of candidates isn’t long guys. It’s the same guys that get recycled.

“I want to make it clear that the Warriors were quick to shoot that down on Brown’s future.”

Kent believes the fact that there are two coaches on the market who are proven winners in the NRL puts pressure on struggling clubs to take steps to climb the ladder.

“It’s not often you get two coaches who win a premiership who can still be on top of them,” said Kent.

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