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NRL: New coaches in focus

The NRL will be graced with the presence of five new head coaches in the 2023 season and each one has a massive job on their hands.

Heading into the new campaign we have already taken a look at a number of coaches that will be feeling the heat already. If they don’t get off to a good start then the exit door could beckon.

We may see more chopping and changing in 2023 but for now we have five coaches to take a look at as they embark on a new journey.

You would think these guys will be handed a bit of time to turn things around, but there is still a bit of pressure on them to get their teams up the ladder.

Let’s take a look at the five new coaches who are hoping for a big 2023 campaign.

Cameron Ciraldo (Canterbury Bulldogs)

The Bulldogs appear to have pulled off a huge coup by luring Ciraldo from the Penrith Panthers during the off-season. 

Ciraldo has a great reputation having worked alongside Ivan Cleary at the Panthers and he was a man very much in-demand. Wests Tigers pulled out all the stops to try and get him on board, but Ciraldo turned them down before eventually accepting the Bulldogs job.

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What the top eight could look like

Now armed with a list full of quality, Ciraldo will be expected to get the Bulldogs pushing towards the top eight and that is where the pressure comes.

Reed Mahoney and Viliame Kikau are the latest big arrivals, but the Bulldogs are still lacking in a couple of areas. So for now the Bulldogs faithful need to keep their expectations in check and Ciraldo needs to be given time. The Bulldogs are priced at 9/10 to make the top eight.

Anthony Seibold (Manly Sea Eagles)

The former Brisbane Broncos coach is back in the NRL after replacing the long-serving Des Hasler during the off-season. The Sea Eagles embark on a new era following a disastrous end to last season on and off the pitch, which resulted in Hasler moving on.

Manly have already impressed in the pre-season trials and can look forward to having gun full-back Tom Trbojevic back from injury for the start of the new season.

All eyes will be on Seibold and the Sea Eagles to see how they start the season but the 48-year-old will be given time to make his mark.

Tim Sheens (Wests Tigers)

Sheens coached the Wests Tigers between 2003 and 2012, guiding them to Grand Final glory in 2005, and he is now back at the helm.

The 72-year-old is set to spend the next two seasons in the role with club legend Benji Marshall working alongside him. The idea being that Marshall will then take over the reins from the start of the 2025 campaign.

So the Tigers have put the plan in place and Sheens will be given the chance to execute it. The Tigers have pulled off some epic signings with Api Koroisau and Isaiah Papali’i both arriving while David Klemmer and John Bateman have also signed long-term deals. They are 7/2 to make the eight.

Andrew Webster (New Zealand Warriors)

The Warriors head into the season with rookie coach Webster and it looks as though he and his team could be in for a long, hard season. Webster has seen his list bolstered with a host of new arrivals but it remains to be seen if they will be up to the job.

The new coach has still inherited a squad that is lacking strength in depth and if he can keep the Warriors away from the wooden spoon at the end of the year he will have done a great job. They are priced at 6/1 to suffer the most losses this season.

Wayne Bennett (The Dolphins)

The Dolphins are priced at 13/8 to suffer the most losses this season but will fancy their chances of avoiding the wooden spoon in their inaugural season with Bennett at the helm.

The NRL’s new boys do not have enough quality players to make finals but Bennett has recruited some with vast experience, and he will get the very best out of the hand he has been given.

Bennett’s record down the years says it all and the Dolphins could not have a better coach at the helm as they attempt to establish themselves in the NRL.

With a couple of years and more recruitment under their belts the Dolphins will be aiming high under the leadership of the super coach.

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