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Jason Taylor tossed on scrapheap as Tigers' recycling plan fails | Nick Tedeschi


You could say Jason Taylor’s time at the Wests Tigers was doomed from the very beginning. Not because of the qualities he brings to a team or his personal style or the brand of football he eschews. Not because the Tigers are an organisation undermined by institutional instability or overrun by player power or anchored by a star-crossed fate.

The Jason Taylor era at Leichhardt may have been condemned from the off given recycled coaches rarely work out. Few careers offer less stability than that of an NRL coach. The reasons are plentiful but almost always centre around an immediate demand for success from both fans and clubs and a coach’s increasingly solidified way of approaching the game.


Rugby league is an incredibly dynamic sport, one that is constantly evolving, where styles and fashions change and the formula to success is a living organism. If a coach can’t find a way to victory at their first club, they are unlikely to find it down the track, particularly as their views on the game become more entrenched through their experiences.

If a coach does not win a premiership at his first crack at the big-time, the odds are he won’t. Since 2007, every title with the exception of the Dragons in 2010 has been led by a coach at their first club. Wayne Bennett, arguably the greatest coach the game has known, was the one to buck the trend.

During the NRL era, Tim Sheens is the only coach to have been forced out by a club – the Cowboys in 2001 – and to go on and win a title with his next team.

League is a game of new ideas and new approaches and that has been shown by the coaches who have found success in recent years. The last four premierships tell a tale, one that faith in young coaches and new thinking brings rewards.

Trent Robinson won a title with the Roosters in 2013 during his first season in charge. Michael Maguire took Souths to premiership glory in his third year. Paul Green led the Cowboys to their first grand final victory in just year two. Shane Flanagan had coached the Sharks since 2010 but has just five full seasons in charge when leading Cronulla to their maiden title last year.

Since 2007, NRL clubs have turned 23 times to a coach with previous head coaching experience at another club. Taking out Wayne Bennett and his Broncos-Dragons-Knights-Broncos moves, clubs have recycled a coach on 20 occasions. Those hires have netted zero premierships and just four grand final appearances with Des Hasler (79-55 at Canterbury), Anthony Griffin (16-13 at Penrith) and Michael Hagan (26-25 at Parramatta) the only three to have a winning record.

There is no doubt some clubs were left in a better position by bringing in a recycled coach. The Bulldogs have made two grand finals. Ivan Cleary did a strong job at Penrith. Hagan and Daniel Anderson did admirable jobs under trying circumstances at Parramatta. But success has been rare with recycled coaches and there is an inherent ceiling on the level of success they can bring.

When clubs make a coaching hire, they have to roll the dice on a rookie with new ideas and a fresh approach. Unless they can sign one of the game’s truly elite, one with a premiership in the back pocket and a proven history of sustained success, they are only capping their upside.

Taylor certainly has not done himself any favours. While he has endured his share of PR nightmares at both Souths and the Tigers, the fairest criticism has been his failure to develop his young halves while not improving a poor defence. The Tigers are also not without blame either. Taylor is the third coach sacked in the last five years and there is no doubt the instability within the organisation has created a raft of issues.


In the end though, it was a marriage that was unlikely to work and a conservative decision that had very little chance of success has once again set a club back to square one.



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