The secret Christmas wishes of NRL coaches
SANTA Claus will be visiting all 16 NRL coaches tonight, and he might deliver a much-needed gift or two.
Here are some possible Christmas wishes:
Broncos: A player who can close out a game, or at least gain a repeat set of six when a result is in the offing.
Losing seven of their final eight matches in 2012 is evidence that someone like veteran Scott Prince is a most valuable gain.
Bulldogs: A mouth guard and lie detector for James Graham.
Surely Jimmy - and maybe his mum - is the only person who believed he did not bite Billy Slater in the grand final.
We might be descendants of convicts James, but we do have eyes.
Cowboys: A dictionary for James Tamou so he can grasp the meaning of loyalty.
He re-signed with the Cowboys out of loyalty - a fine gesture - but Kiwis will not forget his lack of allegiance when choosing to play for the Kangaroos, ahead of his country of birth.
Dragons: Coach Steve Price hopes to wake tomorrow morning with a Johnathan Thurston lookalike in his stocking.
With skipper Ben Hornby retired and likely replacement Kyle Stanley already gone for 2013, the Dragons desperately need an on-field director.
Eels: Ricky Stuart is so focused and determined that he would probably consider anything from Santa outside assistance.
Besides, after missing out on Israel Folau, Stuart appreciates that gifts from above are unrealistic anyway.
Knights: Just want big Nathan Tinkler to pay the bills, and on time.
The big fella may have saved the Knights 12 months ago, but unless he either parts with some assets or finds a quick-fix cash-flow business, Benny's boys may soon be back to square one.
Panthers: A new mop and bucket so Phil Gould and Ivan Cleary can continue clearing the decks.
They used 33 players in 2012, 10 of them have gone and a dozen newcomers have joined the ranks. Changing the culture, however, will take some time.
Rabbitohs: Copious DVDs of Russell Crowe movies including his first, The Crossing, so the boys at Redfern can never forget their Gladiator, the man who transformed their club.
Maybe they might miss Russell a tad more than big Dave Taylor.
Raiders: How about 26 premiership games from skipper Terry Campese - now that would be a gift.
And a start to 2013 that mirrored their finish to 2012 would be applauded by David Furner and his new assistant, Brett Kimmorley.
Sharks: Just a premiership thanks, their first after 46 years.
And with a cast of a thousand stars joining a line-up that finished seventh this past season, great expectations abound.
Gallen and Carney, however, remain the two main men.
Roosters: With a new coach, new chief executive and new skipper, the Roosters already have an abundance of shiny toys in their stocking.
Perhaps coach Trent Robinson could utilise a big stick to bring Sonny Bill back to earth, and a strong skipper to control his ego.
Sea Eagles: A Melbourne Storm blueprint so Geoff Toovey can turn blokes on the scrapheap in to premiership winners, as Craig Bellamy does year after year.
Of their dozen newcomers, not one could be considered an NRL regular.
Storm: The only club that failed to send off a request to the big man in the red suit - it needed nothing in particular.
The genius coach probably thinks all his Christmases came at once the year he received Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.
Tigers: Where does Santa start?
Maybe in the boardroom, where the squabbling is at fever pitch?
A Lotto win, so they can pay sacked coach Tim Sheens?
Or a position for expensive new buy Braith Anasta? Help Santa, help.
Titans: Anyone who can fit in to a No.7 jersey, can kick tactically, has good hands and has actually played halfback previously with some success.
And a series of work ethics lessons for Dave Taylor and Jamal Idris.
Warriors: The identical request to every other year - to play to their potential and make Mt Smart Stadium a graveyard for visiting teams.
The Warriors make coach killing an art form, with newcomer Matt Elliott their ninth in 19 seasons.