NRL Super Coach: Best Win Percentage in the Last Decade

We take a look at which of the current NRL coaches over the past decade can lay claim to being the super coach in our game.

17. Benji Marshall

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Current Club: Wests Tigers
Previous Clubs (since 2013): nil
Win/Loss/Draw Record: nil
Finals Appearances: nil
Percentage Won: nil

A tough initiation awaits Benji Marshall, who is a Wests Tigers legend, endorsed by the now-removed CEO Justin Pascoe.

One of the early signs of success will be moving the club off the bottom of the ladder and avoiding a third wooden spoon.

However, his predecessors have struggled too, including Panthers coach Ivan Cleary who has been the most successful coach for the franchise in the last decade, winning 42% of matches.

Can he buck the trend?

16. Cameron Ciraldo

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Current Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Previous Clubs (since 2013): Penrith Panthers (2018, 2022)
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 31 matches, 11 wins, 20 losses
Finals Appearances: 1
Percentage Won: 35.5%

Cameron Ciraldo is highly-rated and accepted the challenge to work under Phil Gould at the Bulldogs for his first full-time role.

Credited for his efforts to improve the defence of the Panthers, we saw very little of that in action as the Bulldogs leaked 769 points – their worst defence in over a decade.

This is a pivotal year for Ciraldo who could end up on the scrapheap like Dean Pay and Trent Barrett before him, should results not go his way.

New signings – including Stephen Crichton – hopefully lessens those chances.

15. Adam O’Brien

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Current Club: Newcastle Knights
Previous Clubs (since 2013): nil
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 96 matches, 44 wins, 50 losses, 2 draws
Finals Appearances: 3
Percentage Won: 45.8%

Adam O’Brien saved his career at the Knights in 2023 with a strong finish to the season before his side was knocked out in week 2 of the NRL Finals.

He still needs to find a way to knock off some of the bigger teams, noting he had his team up for a fight against Penrith twice last season prior to the season revival.

Dominating against one of the powerhouses of the competition could put the Knights in a position to play more regular finals footy, something they’ve achieved three times in 10 years.

14. Anthony Seibold

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Current Club: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Previous Clubs (since 2013): South Sydney Rabbitohs (2018), Brisbane Broncos (2019)
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 89 matches, 42 wins, 45 losses, 2 draws
Finals Appearances: 2
Percentage Won: 47.2%

Anthony Seibold’s had quite a chequered career to date.

Highly sought after following an impressive 2019 campaign with the Rabbitohs, he was sacked by the Broncos halfway through 2020, losing 10 of his last 11 games in charge.

His tenure at Manly started strongly with an impressive pre-season, but missed out on the top 8 with 11 wins, 12 losses and 1 draw in 2023.

Will he be as successful in 2024 with Michael Ennis moving next to him in the coaching box, as Shane Flanagan takes the hot-seat at the Dragons?

13. Todd Payten

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Current Club: North Queensland Cowboys
Previous Clubs (since 2013): New Zealand Warriors (2020)
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 88 matches, 43 wins, 45 losses
Finals Appearances: 1
Percentage Won: 48.9%

Todd Payten went to the Cowboys as a highly-rated rookie coach after taking over the Warriors in the 2020 Covid-affected season.

In 2022 he took the side within one game of the NRL Grand Final, controversially knocked out by the Eels. However, the hard work in defence wasn’t replicated in 2023 with the Cowboys missing out on the finals series.

This year the focus is to work on not only their defensive pattern but also discipline – where at different stages of the season he had key players out suspended. It certainly bit when Val Holmes was rubbed out for the final four games of the season.

12. Ricky Stuart

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Current Club: Canberra Raiders
Previous Clubs (since 2013): nil
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 247 matches, 127 wins, 119 losses, 1 draw
Finals Appearances: 5
Percentage Won: 51.4%

There’s no more dramatic coach in the game than Ricky Stuart.

His 2019 Canberra Raiders side was the fan favourites heading into the decider against the Sydney Roosters before falling agonisingly short.

In with the post-match tantrums is inconsistency with results. Twice last year they were belted by over 40 points one week only to bounce back and win their next fixture.

One of the more quirkier records is against South Sydney (who’ve had reasonable success in the last decade), where Stuart has a 69% win record.

11. Des Hasler

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Current Club: Gold Coast Titans
Previous Clubs (since 2013): Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 200 matches, 103 wins, 97 losses.
Finals Appearances: 5
Percentage Won: 51.5%

Des Hasler returns to top-flight coaching for the first time since leaving the Sea Eagles in 2022.

His record at the Bulldogs was relatively good (57%) despite being labelled the “Dogs of Bore” during the latter seasons at the club.

The challenge at the Titans will be to curb old traditional coaching methods and strategy, converting to the new era where over 20 rule changes have been made since 2020.

With the Titans effectively winning one out of every three games in the past decade (34.7%), Hasler has a lot of work to do to make this side competitive and playing finals footy.

10. Brad Arthur

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Current Club: Parramatta Eels
Previous Clubs (since 2013): nil
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 248 matches, 132 wins, 116 losses
Finals Appearances: 5
Percentage Won: 53.2%

Brad Arthur’s coaching record doesn’t reflect the upward and downward spirals the club has produced over the last decade.

2022 was a saving grace with the Eels making the grand final before blowing all hope of winning with a poor first half in the decider.

Just like they did after making the 2009 decider, the Eels missed out on playing finals footy last season.

With a talented roster, it’s hard to understand why Arthur hasn’t been able to go one step further and bring home the Eels a much-needed title for their fans.

9. Kevin Walters

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Current Club: Brisbane Broncos
Previous Clubs (since 2013): nil
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 75 matches, 40 wins, 35 losses
Finals Appearances: 1
Percentage Won: 53.3%

Kevin Walters should be praised for taking his Broncos to the 2023 Grand Final after he was touted as a frontrunner to lose his job before the season had kicked off.

Walters finally found the ability to get the best out of his players including youngsters Reece Walsh, and Selwyn Cobbo.

The biggest challenge is bouncing back after losing the grand final to the Panthers, minus Herbie Farnworth and Thomas Flegler.

Should he keep the Broncos focused on the task at hand and work on eliminating some silly errors, premiership success is not far away.

8. Jason Demetriou

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Current Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs
Previous Clubs (since 2013): nil
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 51 matches, 28 wins, 23 losses
Finals Appearances: 1
Percentage Won: 54.9%

Jason Demetriou has performed quite well post-Wayne Bennett era at the Rabbitohs.

However, South Sydney lost their way towards the back end of 2022 and there were murmurs that some players weren’t being trained as hard as others.

This could be a critical year for the club with an expectation of success with the signing of Jack Wighton from the Raiders. If they fail to make the finals for a second year running, Demetriou’s position may come into question.

7. Andrew Webster

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Current Club: New Zealand Warriors
Previous Clubs (since 2013): Wests Tigers (2017), Penrith Panthers (2022)
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 30 matches, 17 wins, 13 losses
Finals Appearances: 1
Percentage Won: 56.7%

An excellent year from the rookie coach in 2023 elevates Andrew Webster past the midway point of the list.

His style certainly resonated well with old stagers in Shaun Johnson and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak having excellent seasons.

We also didn’t see any of the mixed bag of results we normally expect from a Warriors outfit.

Webster has united the Warriors club and their faithful. Can they continue their success in 2024?

6. Wayne Bennett

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Current Club: The Dolphins
Previous Clubs (since 2013): Newcastle Knights (2014), Brisbane Broncos (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), South Sydney Rabbitohs (2019, 2020, 2021)
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 231 matches, 139 wins, 92 losses
Finals Appearances: 8
Percentage Won: 60.2%

There’s not much Wayne Bennett hasn’t achieved in the game since he entered the coaching scene alongside Don Furner at the Canberra Raiders in 1987.

He will go down as one of the great coaches in history with Bennett’s final call approaching. Six premierships with Brisbane and one with the St George-Illawarra Dragons franchise, Bennett more recently came close to an eighth title before the Rabbitohs were edged out by Penrith in 2021.

Who knows, we may not see the end of the master coach as he may just pop up as the head coach of the 18th team franchise in a couple of years’ time?

5. Trent Robinson

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Current Club: Sydney Roosters
Previous Clubs (since 2013): nil
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 257 matches, 159 wins, 98 losses
Finals Appearances: 9
Percentage Won: 61.9%

After Bennett and Bellamy, Trent Robinson is the next coach in line to be one of the great coaches of the modern era.

Robinson has won all three grand finals the Roosters have been involved in over the past decade. The only blip on his resume was missing the 2016 NRL finals series as the club sunk to their worst finish in his tenure, winning six matches all season.

Injuries have been a curse on the Roosters in recent years with forced retirements to Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend.

Lining up Dom Young for 2024 is a masterstroke and may address some of the attacking problems faced by Robinson’s men in 2023.

4. Craig Fitzgibbon

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Current Club: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Previous Clubs (since 2013): nil
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 51 matches, 32 wins, 19 losses
Finals Appearances: 2
Percentage Won: 62.7%

Another coach to make it in the NRL after being under the wings of Trent Robinson at the Roosters.

Craig Fitzgibbon bought the club immediate success in 2022 with making the NRL finals before heartbreakingly losing in extra-time to the Cowboys and then going out in straight sets to South Sydney.

While not being as dominant in 2023, Fitzgibbon got his side to the first week of the finals before the Sydney Roosters ended their campaign.

His focus this year will be on how to cope with the losses of Wade Graham (retirement) and Matt Moylan (Super League).

But most importantly, how the club can reverse their finals record which has seen them lose six straight since the 2018 prelim final.

3. Shane Flanagan

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Current Club: St George Illawarra Dragons
Previous Clubs (since 2013): Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 105 matches, 67 wins, 37 losses, 1 draw
Finals Appearances: 4
Percentage Won: 63.8%

Shane Flanagan returns to a head-coach role for the first time since being deregistered in 2018.

His success at the Sharks came under a cloud of illegal performance-enhancing substance use which ended with Flanagan suspended from coaching.

Flanagan has his work cut out with a Dragons side that won only five of their matches in 2023 and are struggling to attract quality players to their club despite having a premiership-winning coach at the helm.

You would expect Flanagan’s win percentage to flounder as he looks to drive better results for the proud club.

2. Ivan Cleary

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Current Club: Penrith Panthers
Previous Clubs (since 2013): Wests Tigers (2017, 2018)
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 220 matches, 141 wins, 78 losses, 1 draw
Finals Appearances: 5
Percentage Won: 64.1%

Ivan Cleary’s second chance at the Panthers was a risk which the club’s management were prepared to take.

Winning three consecutive titles puts him in the same breath as one of the original supercoaches from the 1980s in Jack Gibson.

The hard work in the pre-season of 2020 paid off, improving the club’s defence along with each player recognising their role in the team. His 2019 side won less than half of their games. Since then, the club has won 85% of their matches.

Now the test is to continue that success against a backdrop of players moving on due to salary cap constraints, something Gibson’s Eels didn’t face back in the golden days of rugby league.

1. Craig Bellamy

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Current Club: Melbourne Storm
Previous Clubs (since 2013): nil
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 260 matches, 185 wins, 75 losses
Finals Appearances: 10
Percentage Won: 71.2%

It goes without saying that Craig Bellamy has been the best and most consistent coach over the past decade.

He’s coached some of the greats in the modern era: Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater, and Cameron Smith.

Bellamy’s win-at-all-costs attitude and passion for the game has driven Melbourne to three official premierships in nine grand final appearances since 2006.

However, Melbourne’s high standards have headed south since losing the 2021 prelim final to Penrith. Their defence last year alone was their worst since 2014.

He should go down along with Wayne Bennett as one of the greatest coaches of all-time.

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