NRL Expert @JennaBrooks
NRL Talking points: Saints new coach and Manly woes
Last Updated: 04/09/19 12:38pm
Has Newcastle's CEO let slip St Helens new coach? Plus Manly dealt a massive blow. Jenna Brooks has the latest from the NRL.
Woolf the man
It looks like it's just a matter of time before Kristian Woolf is announced St Helens head coach.
The Knights assistant, who was made interim coach of Newcastle after Nathan Brown left with immediate effect, has been heavily linked to replace Justin Holbrook at St Helens for some time now.
However, in the wake of Adam O'Brien being named Newcastle head coach for next year, the Knights have had to deny that the club had approached O'Brien first, which was why Brown quit.
In defending the club, Newcastle CEO Philip Gardner may have accidentally let the 'cat out of the bag'.
"We had some pre-work done because we had St Helens in the club for the last three-four weeks interviewing all our coaches with a view that at least one of them would be leaving, going to St Helens," Gardner said.
On Friday night Eamonn McManus told me they would announce their head coach for 2020 in the next week or so.
Perhaps that announcement will now come sooner…
As I briefly mentioned above Adam O'Brien, as expected, will replace Nathan Brown as head coach at Newcastle.
The Sydney Roosters assistant coach will take charge of the Knights for the next three seasons, beginning in 2020.
"The Knights are a strong club with a significant and passionate supporter base through the Hunter region and beyond," O'Brien said.
"They have stability off the field via the Wests Group and a rich nursery of junior talent."
The Knights CEO Gardner praised O'Brien's experience and said the club are excited have him on board.
"Aside from quality coaching, we want quality people within the organisation and Adam ticks all of those boxes."
O'Brien will link up with his new team for pre-season ahead of 2020.
Former Leeds head coach David Furner, interviewed for the top job, and is still in line to be named assistant, but O'Brien has been given the final say on his support staff.
Former Hull KR head coach Tim Sheens has also been linked with a technical director role.
Just a game out from the finals, Manly were dealt an almighty blow at the weekend.
Star full-back Tom Trbojevic tore his pectoral muscle during Manly's loss to Melbourne and will have surgery this week.
Trbojevic is facing at least 10 weeks on the sidelines, which also rules him out of international duties with Australia in the World Nines, as well as Tests against New Zealand and Tonga.
"Obviously this is very hard to take, especially at this time of year. But there was no point trying to be a hero and risking my body," Trbojevic told 9News.
"It was explained to me that it was best to do surgery early to get the best recovery for my body. That's what I've decided to do."
The Sea Eagles, who are currently fifth on the ladder, have secured a finals berth, but will have to finish the year without the 22-year old.
Hamstring problems have restricted Trbojevic to just 12 appearances for Manly this year, with the club winning 10 of those games.
Manly take on Parramatta on Friday live on Sky Sports. A win will see them leapfrog South Sydney into a fourth-place finish.
Trbojevic is not the only reason Manly are in the headlines this week. A Sea Eagles fan lashed out at Melbourne's Will Chambers during Saturday's encounter.
The NRL integrity unit has launched an investigation into the incident that saw a man wearing a Manly jersey, poke his arm through a gap in the players' tunnel and touch Chambers, who was leaving the field after being sin binned.
Melbourne have confirmed they want to move on from the incident and the man has not been charged by NSW Police, but will be handed a ban by the NRL.
Melbourne beat Manly 36-6 to clinch a third minor premiership in four years. Despite one game to go in the regular season, reigning premiers - the Sydney Roosters have sealed second spot.
Canberra host New Zealand Warriors on Saturday and victory will see them secure third. However, defeat for the Raiders and victory for South Sydney against the Roosters will see the Rabbitohs finish third and the Raiders fourth.
The winners between Parramatta and Manly will finish fifth, with the losers in sixth. If Brisbane can beat the Bulldogs, they will secure seventh, but with defeat eighth.
That leaves just one finals place undecided and it couldn't have worked out better, as the two teams vying for eighth, Wests Tigers and Cronulla, play each other on Sunday.
The winners of that game reach the finals. It's one game not to be missed, so set your alarms because it's live on Sky Sports at 5am on Sunday.