Saturday 19 August 2017 / 11:40 AM

SIX UP THE MIDDLE: COACHES UNDER PRESSURE

The six NRL coaches under pressure and who should replace them if they get the axe.

Des Hasler (Canterbury)

Hasler signed a two-year extension this season to keep him at the Bulldogs until the end of 2019 but a putrid season, a major backlash by fans and an upcoming board election means he is unlikely to see 2018. Speculation is rife that Manly coach Trent Barrett is set to defect.

Chance of Survival: Minimal
Replacement: Trent Barrett

Stephen Kearney (New Zealand)

The Warriors managed to reach a new low with a disgraceful effort against Newcastle where the coach accused his players of not trying. Kearney has been awful for the Warriors, trying to play a Storm brand of football with the least disciplined team in the competition. Need a disciplinarian with experience. Tony Smith at Warrington is a quality coach who would do a good job.

Chance of Survival: Should start 2018 … won’t see it out.
Replacement: Tony Smith

Michael Maguire (South Sydney)

Shane Richardson and Blake Solly prize stability so won’t make any quick decisions. Maguire has enough credits in the bank from the 2014 premiership to get one more year but that will be it. He probably needs to change his style, though, and doesn’t seem willing to do that. Richardson takes great pride in coach identification and will go all out for Melbourne assistant Adam O’Brien if a spot becomes open.

Chance of Survival: Gets one more chance in 2018
Replacement: Adam O’Brien

Neil Henry (Gold Coast)

Neil Henry has gone from the toast of the town to in big trouble in the space of 12 months. Arguably no team has underachieved more this year than the Titans and the rumblings out of the camp are that some of the big-name players are off him. Injuries may save him but in more trouble than most think. Ipswich coaching savants Ben and Shane Walker are just around the corner and could do some explosive things with the talent at the Titans.

Chance of Survival: In trouble
Replacement: Ben and Shane Walker

Nathan Brown (Newcastle)

The last fortnight will ensure Nathan Brown has the Knights squad over the offseason. The Knights haven’t really come on as expected but four wins is a pass mark for Brown. If the Knights do make a cut, Garth Brennan is their man. A Hunter boy, he was a big favourite last time around before Phil Gould talked him out of it.

Chance of Survival: Will get a chance in 2018 following last fortnight
Replacement: Garth Brennan

Paul McGregor (St George Illawarra)

The Dragons have a habit of keeping coaches on way too long and unlike Canterbury, the Dragons can’t afford to punt McGregor now he has got an extension. The Dragons don’t really perform under him though and continue to play a boring brand of football. St Helens coach and former lower-grade mentor Justin Holbrook would be at the top of the list if the job did become open.

Chance of Survival: 100 per cent … they can’t afford to dump him now
Replacement: Justin Holbrook

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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