Manly Sea Eagles Coach Trent Barrett will be the next super coach in Rugby League.
He is that good.
Never before in the history of the game have we seen such a depth in coaching talent across all 16 NRL clubs, as what our game currently enjoys today. 0Our coaching ranks are outstanding. The modern-day coaches are so professional and every player at every NRL club gets every chance to be the best they can be.
However, Trent Barrett is destined for great things in our game. His experience as a Test class footballer and outstanding club player, along with his wonderful knowledge of the game, is a huge asset to his coaching aspirations.
His calm demeanor and tremendous communication skills, allow him to deliver his messages to players of all ages and abilities. I had the privilege of watching him mentor a young team of teenagers with the Panthers a few years ago. I never had any doubt he could make the transition to dealing with NRL players of all stages in their careers.
In only his second year as a head coach, Barrett has taken the Sea Eagles to a top four position as we approach the two-thirds mark in the home-and-away season. This has exceeded all expectations from tipsters prior to the commitment of this competition.
His team has produced several terrific performances so far this year, but none better than the demolition job they did on defending premiers, the Cronulla Sharks, on their own home ground yesterday afternoon.
Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans was in great touch against Cronulla at Southern Cross Group Stadium. (Getty)
It was a stunning victory. They never gave the Sharks a chance. The final score line of 35-18 was indeed a fair reflection of Manly’s superiority on the day.
The Sea Eagles impressed on a number of fronts.
Firstly, their attitude was outstanding. From the opening whistle they played with an aggression and confidence that indicates the coach had them in exactly the right frame of mind to deal, not only with their star-studded opponents, but with the big home crowd on a sunny Sunday afternoon down there in the Shire.
The blew the Sharks off the park in the opening exchanges and never really let the big home crowd become a factor during the game.
The Sharks are a hard-headed team of bullies. They like to stand over opposition teams. Yesterday the Manly boys let them know they weren’t having any of that rubbish. They weren’t about to be intimidated. Their relentless physicality shocked the life out of the Sharks who appeared quite uncomfortable for the whole duration.
Secondly, the Sea Eagles attacking game plan was brilliant. They knew exactly what they wanted to do to the Shark’s defensive line and they implemented the plan to perfection.
It’s one thing for a aoach to have a game plan, it’s another thing to have his team understand it implicitly and execute it to perfection.
Barrett’s playmaker group of halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, five-eighth Blake Green, fullback Tom Trbojevic and hooker Api Koroisau have proven themselves to be one of the best combinations in the game today. These blokes are very smart footballers. They maneuver their team around the paddock. All four are now working in perfect sync. They give great service to their ball runners.
Daly Cherry-Evans in particular has excelled under the tutelage of Barrett. He is getting better by the week.
Cronulla could be struggling with the burden of representative football after putting in a listless performance against Manly. (AAP)
Finally, you don’t win big games against quality opposition without a commitment to defense. The Sea-Eagles were great in this regard.
Well, in all fairness, they are in that part of the season where a dip in form and intensity is most understandable.
We are in the middle of the Origin series and they have been heavily represented. It’s only natural that club form will dip at this stage of the season. Especially when the Sharks have themselves in such a lofty position on the premiership ladder.
In saying that though, I do think they had all good intentions of putting up a quality performance yesterday afternoon. They were just beaten to the punch by a better team.
The Sharks side has hardly changed at all over the past couple of years. They have had an extraordinary run of good fortune with regard to games lost through injury. They’ve pretty much had the same squad playing every week for as long as we can remember. This is terrific for team continuity, combination and confidence. But it also means a lot of these players have been playing hard at the top level for a long time.
Yesterday they looked a little flat and jaded. Or maybe the Manly boys just made them look that way. They were certainly exposed by the Sea Eagles attacking game in a couple of key areas.
I’m confident the Sharks will bounce back once they can put the rep season behind them. Time will tell.
Mind you, I’m taking absolutely nothing away from what the Sea Eagles produced yesterday. They would’ve beaten any team in the competition on yesterday’s form.
Manly stamped themselves as a very serious football team with a real chance of challenging for this year’s title. Anyone hoping their bubble might burst sometime soon is about to be very disappointed. This Manly team is the real deal.
So is the coach. Trent Barrett is the real deal too.
Great win by the Sea Eagles.