Origin proves that coaches simply do not matter
For centuries, humanity has grappled with some of the universe’s biggest conundrums.
An intelligent creator or a bunch of randomly evolving strands of DNA? The chicken or the egg? And why does Darren Lockyer have such a gravelly voice?
But there’s one mystery which has divided the great thinkers like no other. Do sporting coaches really make a difference?
Last night, in State of Origin I in Melbourne, we got the definitive answer. And that answer was a big fat nope. Nuh-uh. No way, José .
Think about it. In Craig Bellamy, NSW had the NRL’s premier mentor of the last three years, a man who has steered the Melbourne Storm to three successive NRL grand finals, including one premiership.
By contrast, Queensland had Mal Meninga, a man whose five year reign as coach of the Canberra Raiders was about as successful as his three second political career, the hilarious finale of which is shown here in the above clip.
The plain facts again: in the Blue corner, a proven club coach. In the Maroon corner, a confirmed dud at club level.
So what happened tonight when for the fourth year running, Meninga was handed the keys to a perfectly-turned Qld machine brimming with contemporary and all-time greats?
Notwithstanding a spirited Blues fight back, Queensland dominated, as they have done the previous three years.
On the flipside, Craig Bellamy was powerless to inspire his team of young hacks to overcome the class of Queensland, many of whose stars he coaches each week at the Melbourne Storm.
So there you have it. Good players win matches. So-called “good” coaches go along for the ride. There’ll be a lot of intricately-constructed arguments on this website as it evolves, but this isn’t one of them. Because it doesn’t need to be. The facts, as proven last night, are clear cut
But if you’re still cynical and want one more shred of proof from another sport, here’s an absolute beauty.
Roger Federer’s record in singles tournament tennis – where no courtside coaching is allowed – is 643 wins from 798 matches, or 80.6 per cent.
His singles record in Davis Cup, when courtside coaching is permitted? It’s 25 wins from 31 appearances. Unbelievably, that, too, is a record of exactly 80.6 per cent.
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