What makes Robbo’s ‘super coach’ claims legit

Even today, with all the great coaches in the NRL, the 'super coach' tag fits comfortably with only one man; the inimitable Jack Gibson.

He of the fur coat and the big glasses was a mastermind and an innovator.

Where he went premierships followed. Two in four years at the Roosters in the '70s then three in three years at the Eels in the early '80s.

Sterlo's Wrap: Grand Final

Both teams were ahead of their time, boasting training regimes that crept across the competition once word spread.

Despite his success, Gibson moved on quickly seeking a new challenge and new men to motivate. He lived the mantra that players would listen to him and hear his message for three years but not much more.

At the end of the 1983 season he left Parramatta after 84 games in charge. He won 61 of them.

While his coaching methodology and his legend is unique, a modern 'super coach' is emerging in pursuit of some of his records.

Like Gibson, Trent Robinson is an innovator with a very different personality to your typical 'leaguie'.

He polarises the coaching community, with many in the NRL fraternity scoffing at his achievements and placing an asterisk alongside them due to the perception, real or imagined, that he has limitless resources thanks to the game's most powerful chairman, Nick Politis.

Yet one of the biggest stars who played for Gibson sees parallels between he and Robinson arguing that the Roosters' latest premiership had elevated him into a conversation occupied by the 'super coach', Wayne Bennett, Tim Sheens, and, presumably, Craig Bellamy.

"What a record in a short period of time Trent Robinson is now amassing," Eels four-time premiership player Peter Sterling told Wide World of Sports for Sterlo's Wrap.

"Three premierships in seven years with the Roosters. And he's got a long time to go in this game.

"So he's looking to elevate himself up amongst the rarefied air of Gibson and Bennett and Sheens and the like."

Jack Gibson (right) was a coaching trail blazer.

Gibson coached for 16 years for his five premierships, which in itself is a phenomenal strike rate, yet Robinson is on track to better it.

If he keeps winning premierships at the rate his NRL career has started he will be eyeing his seventh by the time he coaches his 16th season.

That's a frightening thought considering the lengths the NRL takes to share the wealth, with the salary cap system in place to punish success and reward failure.

Making the Gibson comparison particularly apt after this premiership is the way it sets up the 2020 season.

Before Sunday no club had won back-to-back premierships in a unified competition since the Broncos of 1992/93.

Next year Robinson will have the chance to win three in a row for the first time since Gibson did it at the Eels from 1981-83.

Wayne Bennett (centre) has won seven premierships as a coach.

Not even the great Bennett has managed to achieve that over an outrageously successful career that has spanned 33 years and seven premierships.

For all the plaudits Bellamy has won for creating the ultimate football machine at the Storm, he has just two legitimate premierships to his name in a 17-year career.

Perhaps it really is time to recognise Robinson for his greatness and his pursuit of Gibson as the ultimate 'super coach'.

WWOS

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