The club legends who failed as coaches

Kevin Walters will interview for the Broncos job on Tuesday. (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Kevin Walters will interview for the Broncos job on Tuesday. (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

THERE'S no doubt Kevin Walters is a bit of a Broncos legend, and there's no doubt he's a decent coach.

But there's always that uneasy feeling when a star player takes over in the big chair at the club they dominated on the field with.

Walters will meet with the Broncos today to interview as the man to replace Wayne Bennett and there will be plenty of Brisbane fans happy to see the club champion come home.

If he gets the job, though, Broncos supporters should be warned. The happy reunion doesn't often have a happy ending.

MAL MENINGA (Canberra Raiders)

A three-time premiership captain with Canberra, Meninga admits he was better suited to representative coaching than the grind of clubland, having coached the Raiders from 1997-2001.

Canberra made the finals three times under his coaching, but he left the club after 2001, when the Raiders placed 11th. Five years later, Meninga won the first of his Origin series with Queensland.

A fan lets Mal Meninga know just how many games his Raiders team had won at that point.
A fan lets Mal Meninga know just how many games his Raiders team had won at that point.

In similar style to Meninga, Brad Fittler made the finals in his second year as Roosters coach, but the Tricolours finished last the next year, 2009, with five wins and he fined himself $10,000 when it was revealed he had drunkenly tried to get a woman to let him into her Townsville hotel room in the belief that it was his room.

Fittler departed for the commentary ranks, from where he coached City Origin for some years before his 2018 Origin series win with NSW.

Wally Lewis looking pumped to be at the Seagulls in 1993.
Wally Lewis looking pumped to be at the Seagulls in 1993.

WALLY LEWIS (Gold Coast Seagulls)

The King never converted his greatness as a player into the coaching realm. Was handed the reins of the Seagulls in their embryonic years and was on a hiding to nothing. Lewis won just seven of 44 games as coach as the Seagulls crashed to consecutive wooden spoons in 1992-93.

The Immortal also did it tough at Origin level, losing both series as coach of the Maroons in 1993-94.

It sucked for Laurie Daley, but his failure to get the best out of NSW brought us much joy.
It sucked for Laurie Daley, but his failure to get the best out of NSW brought us much joy.

LAURIE DALEY (NSW)

The 244-game Canberra playmaking wizard was hailed as the Blues' great coaching hope when he replaced Ricky Stuart in 2013.

Daley managed to break Queensland's decade of dominance with a series win in 2014 but his reign was statistically a failure.

He won just one of five series and six of 15 Origin matches before passing the baton to Brad Fittler, who had instant success with the Blues this year.

The smile wouldn’t last for Andrew Slack, who only survived one season as Reds coach.
The smile wouldn’t last for Andrew Slack, who only survived one season as Reds coach.

ANDREW SLACK (Queensland Reds)

The fabled Reds and Wallabies centre looked a natural fit to be a long-term Queensland rugby coach when appointed for 2003.

Even Slack suggested he'd love to be a 10-year coach like the late Bob Templeton, a Queensland coach, man-manager and friend he admired enormously when playing under him.

The Reds started 0-4 in Super 12 and Slack realised the slavish devotion to watching match video and over-analysing every minor point to the game was just not his bag.

The Reds rallied to beat NSW and finish 5-6 but Slack knew coaching wasn't for him because too much and he would have lost his love for a beautiful game that just didn't have the ethos of his amateur playing days.

He was a one-season coach and never returned.

Premiership teammates Michael Voss and Justin Leppitsch both had a crack at bringing the Lions back to the top, but ultimately led the club the other direction.
Premiership teammates Michael Voss and Justin Leppitsch both had a crack at bringing the Lions back to the top, but ultimately led the club the other direction.

MICHAEL VOSS (Brisbane Lions)

WHEN the Lions' triple premiership winning coach Leigh Matthews called it a day at the end of 2008 his captain Michael Voss was ushered into the hot seat.

Voss had never coached but after a two-year stint in the media had accepted an assistant coaching role at the West Coast Eagles.

He started well taking the Lions to the finals in his first season. They won an elimination final against Carlton at the Gabba before bowing out the following week at the hands of the Western Bulldogs.

It appeared to be the dawn of anther great era, however things soon went sour.

The ill-fated attempt to push for a premiership the following year lead to the recruitment of troubled Carlton forward Brendan Fevola who lasted just one full season before he was sacked in February the following year after a string of off-field issues.

His second season saw the departure of long term footy manager Graeme Allan and experienced assistant coach Wayne Brittain leaving the young coach without a seasoned advisor to lean on.

Voss and the Lions never really recovered and he lasted five years before he was sacked late in the 2013 season.

JUSTIN LEPPITSCH (Brisbane Lions)

Leppitsch became the second club legend to be handed the reigns, but this time he had served a solid apprenticeship under Damien Hardwick at Richmond.

However, it was a train wreck.

It didn't help that he lost club legend Simon Black to retirement on the eve of his first season and another great Jonathan Brown midway through the season after his third serious concussion forced his retirement.

But Leppitsch also struggled to connect with his players and the Gabba was an unhappy place during his reign.

James Hird faces the media in front of the entire playing list, confirming his resignation as Essendon coach. Picture: Michael Klein
James Hird faces the media in front of the entire playing list, confirming his resignation as Essendon coach. Picture: Michael Klein

JAMES HIRD (Essendon Bombers)

The ultimate champ to chump story.

Hird was Essendon's 'Golden Boy' as a player. He won the 1996 Brownlow Medal with Voss, he was a two-time premiership player and one-time premiership captain. And he oozed maturity and charisma. He was the perfect man for the coaching job when Matthew Knights was dumped in 2010.

Taking his club to finals in his first season at the helm, the Bombers dropped back down the ladder again in 2012, before Hird was implicated in the supplements saga of 2013.

It's a legacy he may never recover from.

- With Peter Badel, Andrew Hamilton and Jim Tucker



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