What if they gave a job and nobody wanted it? Sorry for our poor paraphrase of a slogan from back in the 60s, but it came to mind when we were considering the coaching vacancy at the Gold Coast Titans.
Any self-respecting rugby coach would be wary of a club that would sack a coach before the end of the season, but that is exactly the fate suffered by Neil Henry, who was axed with three games remaining in the Telstra 2017 NRL Premiership competition.
The list for now is down to two men. Michael Maguire and Jason Demetriou.
Maguire was sacked by the South Sydney Rabbitohs, as retribution, it would seem, for the finals loss to the number eight North Queensland Cowboys, who were subsequently sent off in grand fashion in the Grand Final by the raging Melbourne Storm.
The Titans resorted to forming a special committee to consider the candidates. At one point, the names of former NSW Blues Coach Laurie Daley and Ben and Shane Walker were bandied about, as were those of Penrith Panthers reserve coach Garth Brennan and Des Hasler, who was let go by the Canterbury Bulldogs.
We are not sure how much difference it will make to the Titans future, but the word is that they want to have a new man in place by the time the World Cup starts at the end of the month.
The Titans are also up for sale, which may influence the thinking of both remaining candidates and chief executive Graham Annesley has mentioned that recruitment and retention efforts have been delayed by the search for someone to fill the coaching position. He disclosed that an announcement is pending, but the board has yet to vote on Henry’s successor.
The whole thing sounds like a hot mess. In his own words, Annesley said, “We’re still in talks and deals with players can be done, but it can have an impact if players want to know who the coach will be.”