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Coaching the Coaches - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Sat, 02 Aug 2008 12:04:00 GMT
While their current respective
positions on the NRL ladder look poor at first glance, Monday’s showdown
between the Knights and Eels could be of Grand Final proportion.













Eels
V Knights
Energy
Australia Stadium
Monday
August 4th, Kick-Off: 7pm
Referee:
Jason Robinson
Head
To Head: Played 36, Knights 18, Eels 17,
drawn 1

The Knights still have a few players
out and need to win to stay in the finals hunt.



This game is a case of trading
places. Brian Smith got the chop at Parramatta in 2006 and left early and
Michael Hagan got the shove at the Knights and signed with Parramatta. Smith
joined Newcastle.





Hagan coached the Knights when they
defeated the Eels in the 2001 grand final. Smith coached the Eels.

There is definitely no love lost
between the two.



This is Brian Smith's 500th NRL game
as a coach, but he did coach 100 plus games in Britain with Hull FC and the
Bradford Bulls.





Both coaches are like chalk and
cheese the way they operate.

Smith is like the military
strategist, using soldier-like, orchestrated and structured plays and
manipulates the footy chess pieces on the board with a field marshall's wand.



Hagan is more relaxed, laidback, a
better tactician than given credit for.



His team do play to patterns but is
much more liberal letting his attack and using the full repetoire of skill and
panache.



Newcastle were desperate for an overhaul in
club coaching and playing talent and Smith, the former school teacher and
``footy professor'' was their man.



Parramatta needed a coach like Hagan,
one who encourages freedom of expression and encourages skill to thrill, rather
than science and the grey matter approach to footy.





The Eels have been poor this year,
the big factor is their forwards have lacked line-breaking ability and oomph
and their attitude has been slack.

The Knights have a potentially
top-class side and 2009 will be a year to watch them rocket near the top of the
NRL.



Verdict:






The science and football strategy of
the Knights to prevail over the Eels, who if ever they are get motivated for a
game this is it.

The loser of this one definitely
won't make the top eight.



KNIGHTS: 1. Kurt Gidley 2.
James McManus 3. Junior Sau 4. Adam MacDougall 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen
7. Scott Dureau 8. Daniel Tolar 9. Danny Buderus (c) 10. Matthew White 11.
Steve Simpson 12. Cory Paterson 13. Zeb Taia Interchange: 14. Chris Houston 15.
Cameron Ciraldo 16. Richard Fa’aoso 17. Mark Taufua; Reserves: 18. Cooper Vuna
19. Marvin Karawana Coach: Brian Smith



EELS: 1. Luke Burt 2. Taulima Tautai 3. Krisnan Inu 4. Jarryd Hayne 5.
Tony Williams 6. Kristopher Keating 7. Brett Finch 8. Nathan Cayless (c) 9.
Matthew Keating 10. Fuifui Moimoi 11. Nathan Hindmarsh 12. Daniel Wagon 13.
Chad Robinson Interchange: 14. Mark Riddell 15. Josh Cordoba 16. Joe Galuvao
17. Todd Lowrie; Reserves: 18. Weller Hauraki Coach: Michael Hagan - Read More, Here