The coaches that fucked up your club
When a coach arrives at a major league club, fresh and excited to make his own mark in the history books, you’d have to think that, as a minimum threshold for success, he’d want to leave the place in better shape than when he arrived. Sometimes, the vagaries of reality make it difficult to assess a coach’s legacy but we can definitely ignore nuance and simplify things down to a nice looking line on a graph.
For this, we use Class Elo ratings. Over this kind of time frame, you can think of the rating as a glorified win-loss stock ticker. It goes up when the team wins and it goes down when the team loses. The rating goes up more for unexpected wins and goes down more for unexpected losses. Grand finals are weighted the heaviest, then finals and then regular season games. Challenge Cup results are included for Super League teams. You can see each team’s class Elo rating history for NRL and Super League.
This post compares different coaches at each club and see how they improved the club’s rating from their first game. I’ve included most, but not all of, the coaches for each club over the last two decades. Caretakers have generally been excluded. I used rugbyleagueproject.org (DONATE TO THE PATREON) to determine the extents of careers but it may not be 100% complete for coaching details and career lengths may be out by a few games. It is very hard to find out which round a coach was sacked from a club in 2003 if it’s not on RLP.
Title aside, people have a habit of seeing what they want to see. I don’t need to impart any further agenda to these graphs. If you’re a fan, you can provide your own context or excuses or other explanations for why this doesn’t show what it absolutely seems to show.
For example, it is much easier to repair a team’s rating when it’s terrible upon arrival and vice versa. Craig Bellamy’s successor is going to struggle to maintain Melbourne’s lofty status. This speaks somewhat to the role of luck in being a coach. Tony Smith was able to capitalise on Bradford’s long decline to build Warrington into one of the Big Four. Had Bradford not failed so disastrously, would Warrington have been strong enough to displace them? It’s worth keeping this in mind as you work your way down the page.
- Gold Coast
- Hull FC
- Hull Kingston Rovers
- New Zealand
- North Queensland
- South Sydney
- St George Illawarra
- St Helens
- Wakefield Trinity
- Wests Tigers
Hull Kingston Rovers
St George Illawarra