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Coaching The Coaches - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Fri, 28 Mar 2008 19:34:00 GMT
Once again the Eels and Knights with the respective coaches, Michael Hagan (Parramatta) and Brian Smith (Newcastle) are pitted against one another.
It's well documented that Hagan, the former Newcastle coach and Smith, the Eels mentor, swapped clubs in 2007.
It was a case of trading places.
The Phantom believes the swap has been a success.
Despite the Knights struggling last year and Brian Smith copping more pressure than a Federal Treasurer on Budget night, the move was good for both men.
Parramatta needed the careful, low-key, approach that Hagan brings to coaching.
The Knights required the highly scrutinised, regimented, intense and structured approach that Smith has brought to the club.
The parallels are fascinating.
There is an old saying in football that the style of football a team plays reflects the character of the coach.
Parramatta, arguably the best balanced team in the NRL, with premiers Melbourne, can tailor their game to suit the situation.
Key tactics tonight at Parramatta Stadium to watch.
The Eels will play two passes off the ruck early in the tackle count to avoid the Knights mid-field defence of the Knights.
The Knights have improved their footy defence in the off-season. Coach Smith after shedding more players than a snake shed skin last year has now got the squad he wants to play the footy he wants.
In attack the Eels will also kick early in the tackle count, to move around the hulking-sized Knights pack.
I expect Brett Finch to occupy the first receiver role more even though he's wearing number six with Tim Smith back at seven.
Watch for their best footballer, Feleti Mateo, to raid down the left hand side of the field in attack and slip those slick passes, even the flick inside to a trailing back or forward.
In attack, the Knights will use Buderus' guile and his ability to engage the markers with his deft passes and send surging, straight-line running props and second rowers into holes.
Parramatta by 10, the home crowd advantage and the emotion for Nathan Hindmarsh, after the sad passing of his father during this week, to get them home. - Read More, Here