Here at TotalRL, we’re always keen on starting a debate or two – and every midweek, we’re going to pose a question for you, the fans, to try and answer. This week: it’s who is the best pound-for-pound coach in rugby league.
Now, without some criteria, that’s a tricky question to answer. But by pound-for-pound, we mean the coach who is getting the best out of his squad and taking his club the furthest possible with the resources at hand. With that in mind, it means some of the bigger coaches at the bigger clubs aren’t considered here: but here’s four strong contenders we’re making a case for. Now, it’s up to you to decide.
Richard Marshall (Halifax)
Consistently a challenger at the top end of the Championship, and arguably the big success story of the Super 8s period in rugby league, Richard Marshall has overseen a remarkable transformation at Halifax. The West Yorkshire side constantly compete for promotion despite a significantly smaller spend than some of their rivals, a trend which will surely continue this season. Can Marshall guide Fax to promotion sooner, rather than later?
James Ford (York)
Dubbed the best young British coach in the game – and it’s not difficult to see why. Ford steered York to automatic promotion against the odds last year, before already establishing them as a comfortable Championship side in the early weeks of 2019. With Widnes’ troubles, there may be a spot open for the top five nobody quite expected this year – if Ford guides York into the play-offs, his stock will continue to rise.
Danny Ward (London)
When Danny Ward took charge at London last year, few – if any – expected London to be in the mix for promotion. Ward not only took London into the Qualifiers, but he took them to Toronto and won the Million Pound Game against all the odds. With undoubtedly the lowest budget in Super League, Ward already has the Broncos punching above where many expected them to be: can he do the unthinkable and keep them up?
Ian Watson (Salford)
Talk of financial worries is never far away at Salford – but that doesn’t seem to bother Ian Watson. Last weekend’s incredible win in Catalans was the latest example of how Watson has transformed the Red Devils into not only a side capable of beating anyone, but a side that play some of the best rugby in the British game.