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Coaches following same path to NRL glory

They are two of the youngest coaches in the game and their routes to the NRL have followed almost identical paths - now Michael Maguire and Trent Robinson will watch their sides battle it out in the biggest club game for years on Friday.
Coaches following same path to NRL glory
by AAP

By Ian McCullough

SYDNEY, Sept 5 AAP - They are two of the youngest coaches in the game and their routes to the NRL have followed almost identical paths - now Michael Maguire and Trent Robinson will watch their sides battle it out in the biggest club game for years on Friday.

The pair had limited success as players with South Sydney mentor Maguire clocking up just 16 appearances as a utility back in a five-year career with Canberra and the Adelaide Rams.

Sydney Roosters coach Robinson played only four games over three seasons with the Wests Tigers and Parramatta.

However, the pair are seen as two of the sharpest minds in rugby league - with the winner of the ANZ Stadium clash taking home the minor premiership and a huge psychological advantage heading into the finals series.

Maguire was a long-time assistant to Craig Bellamy at Melbourne before heading to the UK in 2010 where he revived the fortunes of English giants Wigan.

In his first season he ended the Warriors' 10-year wait for a Super League grand final with a 22-10 victory over a Mick Potter-coached St Helens and in his second guided the team to Challenge Cup final success.

South Sydney chairman Nick Pappas said the appointment of Maguire was one of the most important decisions in the club's recent history.

"Credit has to go to Shane Richardson for identifying Michael as the right man for the job," Pappas told AAP.

"I went over to meet him in London I was hugely impressed by what he had to say. He is a very driven individual."

Like his rival, Robinson served his apprenticeship as an assistant to Brian Smith at Newcastle and the Roosters before turning the Catalans from perennial Super League strugglers into successive top-four finishers to earn him the coach of the year award in 2011.

He also held the edge over Maguire in the Super League in the one season they faced each other with his side winning both regular season fixtures.

However, Maguire had the last laugh with a thumping 44-0 win in the 2011 preliminary final and his Souths team ran out 28-10 winners in this season's opening game.

"We've both had wins and losses in our games," Robinson said.

"He's a great coach, very well disciplined and he's shown what he's made of over the last few years in this competition. I enjoy coaching against him."


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