Craig Bellamy and Trent Robinson are the best coaches of this here modern era and by quite a way. It is an easy, lazy argument to say that they have had the best squads, best players, et cetera, et cetera.
But there is much more to it than that.
Every pre-season, experts and fans alike death ride the Storm and the Roosters.
People find any excuse to shoot them down.
Your writer just a few days ago penned an article arguing that everyone out there should put some coin on the resilient Canberra Raiders as a hot favourite to claim the 2021 premiership.
Doesn’t mean it will come true.
Every year, the Roosters and the Storm rosters change.
Players come and go.
So do assistants, physios and other ‘experts’ from other fields other clubs haven’t even explored yet.
The constant is their coaches.
It is these men that keep their clubs at the pointy end of the National Rugby League.
Over the years there have been many reports linking Bellamy to a return to the Brisbane Broncos where he cut his teeth as an understudy to Wayne Bennett.
But he never left Victoria.
He’s still there.
Won another title a few month ago.
And has Trent Robinson ever… literally ever… been reported as ‘looking elsewhere’?
You cook Robbo up in the eleven secret herbs and spices and he’ll taste as good as the colonel’s finest.
That’s how Bondi he is.
Other coaches since 2010 have come and gone.
But history says they have nothing on Bellamy and Robinson and that’s why these two men stand above all others.
In the last ten years, these two have won six premierships between them.
The last coach to claim a competition without the names Bellamy or Robinson was way back in 2016.
Bennett walked into the St George Illawarra Dragons for the 2009 season – won the grand final the next year – and was gone by 2012.
Des Hasler’s Manly-Warringah beat the New Zealand Warriors in 2011 and was on his bike to Canterbury a few weeks later.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs were improving and qualified for the playoffs in 2007 after a long time in the basement. Then, nothing, again. Along came Michael Maguire.
Maguire got them to the preliminary final two-years running before winning the grand final in 2014.
Almost immediately it was reported that players were getting burnt out.
The ‘hangover’ was in motion.
A few years later Maguire was gone.
“Michael has given South Sydney six dedicated years, he brought us a premiership, brought us out of the 43 year wilderness,” Souths owner and Hollywood icon Russell Crowe said at the time.
“I hold him in the highest regard as a coach and as a man. The fact that the board, the chairman, the CEO, the GM of football and Michael were able to talk frankly about future direction and come to an amicable and mutual agreement speaks to maturity of our culture which Michael has given so much effort to building.”
Then came North Queensland and Paul Green.
Hired in 2014. Premiership in 2015. The trickle of blood started from the wound soon after. Todd Payten is the new coach of the Cowboys.
Green was too loyal and fell on his sword when the players that won the coach a ring stopped turning up for him.
“The Board felt that the club was at a juncture where they needed to move in a different direction, and I can only respect their views,” Green said after being punted.
Shane Flanagan’s Cronulla loved adversity.
They thrived on it.
Won a title.
We all know what happened to Flanagan after that.
You can make excuses for the other guys but the one constant is Bellamy and Robinson.
The others made their own beds – one way or another.
Bennett was chasing titles.
Some say Hasler took the coin.
Maguire couldn’t change.
Green was too loyal.
Flanagan was too desperate.
Yet here we are in 2021.
Roosters and the Storm and stronger than ever.
Robinson and Bellamy.
Bellamy and Robinson.