Pressure makes the man. It can make you or it can break you. In the wonderful world of the National Rugby League, pressure wakes up with you every morning. The 2012 season is coming and one coach will either take the pressure and prosper or he will die on his sword.
Being a head coach in the NRL is something only a handful of people can truly understand. They off course are the coaches themselves. When a team is sinking, it is usually the coach who walks the plank first. The very definition of a sporting scapegoat.
Sydney Roosters coach Brian Smith will be feeling the pinch if his side struggles early in the season. Smith is such a perfectionist that everything must be his way. History supports this when you look at the overhauls he has made at his previous clubs. Its his way or the highway. Unfortunately for Smith, the premiership he truly craves hasn’t come.
Smith is a smart man and knew times were changing when he left the St George Dragons for Parramatta in the mid 1990’s. He got out of Kogarah before he was pushed.
The pattern continued at both Parramatta and later the Newcastle Knights where he quit both clubs.
In his first year at the Bondi glamour club, Smith or more to the point, Todd Carney took the Roosters all the way to the grand final.
Smith knows he is in the hot seat in 2012.
“I think there is pressure on me. There has been for the past 20 years and that hasn’t changed. Pressure goes with the position” He said late last year.
“I am not worried about all that (talk about his future). I am just getting us ready for this season.”
Behind all the subtle charisma and calmness is a professionally crazed man who knows that only wins early in the season will keep him in the top job at the Sydney Football Stadium. Roosters chairman Nick Politis is a friend. But friendship doesn’t matter when the losses begin to stack up. Politis is a man driven by success and without success, Smith doesn’t have a job.
The scary part for Smith is the fact he takes almost the very same squad that failed in 2011 into the new season. Minus Todd Carney, Nate Myles, Jason Ryles, Kane Linnett and Phil Graham. If anything, the team has gone backwards and they will rely once again on veterans Braith Anasta, Anthony Minichiello and the terrier-like Mitchell Pearce.
These are worrying times for Brian Smith and the Roosters. No doubt things will get tough throughout the year and fingers will be pointed. The problem for Smith is people are ready to point already.
James Maloney will be at the club in 2013 and its almost a fait accompli that Sonny Bill Williams will be there too. But can Smith survive long enough to see these men in the famous tri colours jumper?
This article was first published @ FootySocial.com.au