Newcastle coach Brian Smith likes to send text messages to players mobile phones writes John Chelsea, the habit dating back to his early days at the Parramatta Eels.Â Seemingly a big fan of the SMS text message, it’s come to light that Smith not only continues to send messages players on their mobile phones – butÂ went wayh over the top by sending antagonising SMSÂ messages to prominent Newcastle Knights hooker Danny Buderus; which seems to have been the catalyst for their falling out.
Initially coming to light several years ago, a pocket of Parramatta players went public with their dislike of their coach at the time Brian Smith sending annoying text messages after hours reminding them of game plans and advising them of their duties. As if the players don’t get enough of Rugby League during their full-time daily routines; you can understand some of them getting frustrated with 24/7 coach contact.
But what about this latest round of SMS activity from Brian Smith, not only sending his current Newcastle players messages but also playing serious mind games with captain Danny Buderus. Several players including Buderus were out celebrating the birthday of Andrew Johns; during the evening – Buderus apparently received two text messages from coach Smith. The first SMS message said “Terence Seu Seu is a great player” obviously a reference to ex-Knights hooker Seu Seu being a possible replacement for Buderus should he not perform. The message was followed up with a second, saying “Terence Seu Seu will play NZ Test football” further pushing the barrow of the rookie hooker.
The only explanation for the Brian Smith messages was to put pressure on Buderus. Certainly not a smart way to go about things, Danny Buderus an Australian and NSW Origin representative would have felt totally disrespected by the comments and you can understand the strained relations between Buderus and Smith through-out 2007.
Fast forward to 2008 and the Newcastle Knights are now set to lose Danny Buderus at the end of the year. The long term Newcastle man set to join the UK Super League ranks in 2009. Certainly the relationship with the new coach must have played some part in this decision, with Buderus contracted to the Knights until the end of 2009 but earning an early release from the club.
For Brian Smith, it seems the unusual methods continue. While 2007 was a horror year for theÂ Knights – in 2008, the Newcastle Knights are undefeated. Strong NRL resultsÂ preceeded by unbeaten trial game form have proven that the clean-out instigated by Brian Smith is so far justified. Will it continue? The future looks tough for the Knights, they’ve had two great wins – but depth looks to be their biggest threat. Tonight they have a tough road trip, heading to Smiths old stomping ground at Parramatta.
I wonder how many text messages will be sent tonight?