No winners in the NRL coaching lottery
OFF THE BALL: I don't think I'll ever be able to explain the enigma that is NRL coaching.
It makes perfect sense to dump a coach when a team is under-performing.
It's certainly cheaper than replacing an entire playing squad and we regularly see struggling teams lift once the coach has been sacked.
But for all the rhetoric about rugby league being a "results-driven business", there are a select few coaches who thrive on mediocrity year after year.
That sort of inconsistency just does my head in.
It was only seven days ago when I outlined in this column why I don't think the Broncos should have signed Wayne Bennett from next season.
Outgoing coach Anthony Griffin has the Broncos well placed while Bennett's Knights have good reason to fear the wooden spoon.
I can't really use Bennett as an example of a mediocre coach when he has seven premierships to his name.
But he is proof of the aura that certain coaches have which allows them to remain employed even when their on-field results are below par.
Should Newcastle finish dead last this season, handing Bennett is first wooden spoon, there will still be a wave of excitement when the "supercoach" returns to Brisbane in 2015.
It just doesn't make sense to me.
Not every club can be as lucky as the Bulldogs were in 2012 and sign a coach who won a premiership the year before.
But surely they have at least shown some ability the year before to land a job at the elite level.
The greatest culprit is Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.
There are plenty of coaches with their heads on the chopping block at the moment but, surprisingly, Stuart is not one of them.
For the past week, we've had to endure constant speculation as to whether Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter is going to have a job beyond this season and his team could still make the finals.
Canberra players could already be organising barbecues for grand final day.
The Raiders are running second-last with the worst defensive record in the league while not faring much better in attack.
They have enjoyed few moments of brilliance this year and almost all of them have come from Anthony Milford who is leaving the club at the end of the season.
They're not exactly looking like a club which could turn things around anytime soon either.
It is only Stuart's first season in charge in Canberra but he hasn't enjoyed a successful season at an NRL club since Darren Lockyer had hair.
Stuart coached the Eels to the wooden spoon last year with the worst attack and defence by a significant margin.
And his last full NRL season before that saw the Sharks finish a miserable 15th.
Yet somehow Stuart is still gainfully employed and he's not the only coach who holds on despite a horrid record.
Titans mentor John Cartwright has made the finals twice just twice in his eight years in charge and the last of those finals appearances was in 2010.
I wouldn't exactly call Cartwright's job safe but coaches have been sacked for less as his current assistant, and former Cowboys mentor, Neil Henry can attest.
It boggles the mind that coaches like Griffin and Potter have to fight for their jobs where coaches with far worse records hang around.
You could call NRL coaching a cutthroat business but I reckon it's more of a lottery.
There's just no logic to it at all.