Steve Folkes Newcastle Knights Coaching NRL 2010Dumped Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes has appeared on the radar as an experienced, low cost solution to the Knights vacant coaching role for 2010.

Is Folkes the right man for the job?

While punted from the Bulldogs at their lowest point in 2008, lets not forget the achievements that Steve Folkes had during his time at the helm of the Belmore club.

Taking on the Bulldogs head coaching role in 1998, Folkes immediately took the Canterbury club to the NRL Grand Final. Beating out hot favourites the Parramatta Eels in a classic final, where they were down 18-2 with 10 minutes remaining. While eventually losing to the Broncos, Folkes had arrived as a coach in only his first year on the big stage.

The ultimate highlight for the veteran coach coming in 2004, when he guided the Dogs to an NRL Premiership against a much fancied Sydney Roosters outfit. The Bulldogs beating out the other lead contender, the Penrith Panthers the week before taking the ultimate prize.

Folkes is a coach that would suit the current crop of Newcastle Knights very well. A strong focus on fitness and simple yet effective gameplans, he is a coach that doesn’t tinker too much with the core elements and would seemingly be a great fit to come in and take over from the strong foundations left by Brian Smith.

This guy knows what it takes to win the big prize, and with experience comes the ‘cool hand’ needed at critical times. With the Knights squad being mostly under 23 years of age, they can expect finals appearances over the next few years barring any major injuries or crisis.

Outgoing coach Brian Smith has picked the right players both on and off the field. He has slotted in guys that know how to win matches, but can also be trusted after dark where most clubs suffer consistent problems.

It’s been said by several inside the Knights camp, that this will be a ‘plum’ job for any incoming coach. The Newcastle officials have also said they aren’t too worried about installing a rookie coach if the price is right.

This is where they need to be cautious.

Yes, Smith has done a great job and the foundations for a strong future have been laid. However, a rookie coach could be a risk factor coming into any environment no matter how good.

Folkes on the other hand, with ample experience – is ideally suited. The astute former Dogs coach would be smart enough to leave the right elements in place and simply guide the squad on a weekly basis.

The other major benefit of bringing in Folkes, is the low cost. The coach was uncermoniously dumped from the Bulldogs after a long reign and has been in the wilderness since. While he has had the chance to freshen up and get away from the game, his price tag isn’t as high as other potential candidates.

With Folkes you get the best of both worlds, ample experience at what should be the right price.

By ricky

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