As all are aware, the last time NSW won a series coincided with the last time that Ricky Stuart was coach of the representative team. Whether that is solely coincidental, or there’s some deeper meaning behind it, we’ll never know.
Stuart is nearing the end of a round of negotiations that has lingered for sometime, in relation to talks he has held with NSWRL boss Geoff Carr to officially become the coach for NSW in 2011.
Whilst the deal isn’t yet official, given that Stuart and Carr are nearing the end of advanced negotiations, it is believed that an announcement could come within days.
Brian Canavan, the man who designed a report on the NSW Origin team and general office, revealing the ways in which the whole circa could improve, has had his report heavily analysed by Stuart for the past two weeks, as NSW seek answers to end the 5 years of pain put forth by QLD.
There are two key issues that the NSWRL consider as fundamentally important for any incoming coach that is announced as the official coach of NSW.
It’s a well-known fact that the NSWRL have previously stated that the next coach must have a three-year plan and be willing to be coach of NSW for those three years.
In Stuart’s case however, given that he would be chased by a large array of clubs at any given time, he plans to seek approval from the NSWRL, in so that if a team is on the look-out for a new coach, that he is allowed to pursue that avenue as he sees fit.
“The report asks for a full-time coach wit a tenure of more than one year, which makes a lot of sense, but at the same time, we’ve got to be realistic”, Carr said.
“I’ve always said to Rick that if an opportunity arose to coach one of the top teams and he wants to sit down and take advantage of that, then it’s certainly something we’d consider”.
The other primary issue of discussion was the length of the contract with NSW for Stuart, with a two-year option firming as the most likely scenario.
“I’ve sat down with Ricky and he’s passionate about NSW, he’s the last coach to win with NSW,” Carr said.
“He obviously has a great desire to do it, and Rick has looked closely at what Brian Canavan has put to the board, which is quite a revolutionary change to the way NSW will conduct an Origin series, and he’s embraced that, so we continue to talk.”
The NSW coaching job will be a breath of fresh air for Stuart as only four months ago, his coaching career seemed in tatters, when he re-signed from his position as head coach of the Cronulla Sharks, without a new gig to pursue straight away.
Stuart’s agent Ben Fordham has acknowledged that Stuart is hungry for the success and eager to get on with the role, as well as being more than capable of taking up the challenge.
“Having coached NSW to an Origin victory in 2005 at his first and only attempt, Ricky is obviously extremely interested and committed to playing a role that hopefully will enable the Blues to once again achieve Origin supremacy,” Fordham said.
“This is a groundbreaking move by NSW to appoint a full-time coach and it involves much more detail. Whilst we have made some significant progress during the week, there is still a considerable way to go, before the matter can be finalised.
Carr conceded that after losing 5 straight series, action had to be taken, and decisions had to be made.
“The decision needs to come sooner rather than later. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done prior to the first game,” Carr said.
“Hopefully, we can have a decision soon.