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Robinson ready for Roosters challenge

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson admits it was a bittersweet moment being offered the opportunity to coach the NRL club after the axing of close friend and mentor Brian Smith.
Robinson ready for Roosters challenge
by AAP

By Ian McCullough

SYDNEY, Feb 21 AAP - Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson admits it was a bittersweet moment being offered the opportunity to coach the NRL club after the axing of close friend and mentor Brian Smith.

Smith was shown the door at the end of last season after missing out on the finals for a second successive year.

Robinson, who at 35 is the youngest coach in the NRL, worked under Smith at Parramatta and again at Newcastle then followed him to the Roosters in 2010 as assistant coach.

So when he got the call from Roosters supremo Nick Politis to replace his former boss, Robinson made sure he spoke to Smith before accepting.

"It was difficult seeing someone you've worked with for so long hurting," Robinson told AAP.

"You don't like seeing anyone losing their job. So when I got the opportunity here it was difficult.

"But I know Brian well enough and he knows opportunities in rugby league don't come up very often and this was a great opportunity for me.

"I thought it important to let him know they were considering me for the job and I was close to getting it.

"He's been in rugby league a long time and he knows how it works and wished me well."

Despite admitting taking over of a Roosters side packed with talented names such as Sonny Bill Williams, Michael Jennings and Mitchell Pearce is his dream job, Robinson says he was in no rush to leave France.

A fluent French speaker and living at the foot of the Pyranees, Robinson was very settled in Europe with his French partner of nine years, who will give birth to their second child next month.

After guiding the Catalans to sixth spot in his first season he was named Super League coach of the year, and in his second he secured a top-four finish.

It was enough to make Politis pick up the phone and entice him home to Sydney.

"I was never really interested in coaching an English team in the Super League," he said.

"I am very passionate about rugby league in France and its development. I'd played over there for Toulouse and I loved living out there.

"But coaching in the NRL is always what I aspired to. Having worked here before and knowing the club, most of the players, the board, the office staff, it was an easy decision in the end."

Having worked under Politis before, Robinson is aware patience is not something in great supply at Bondi Junction.

Robinson will be the club's fourth coach since 2007, as Politis desperately tries to find the coach to deliver him a first premiership since 2002.

And the new man knows the luxury of a star-studded roster increases the pressure on his shoulders.

"It's a good position to be in," he said.

"There will be pressure on me and the players. But this is a club where there's always been high expectations.

"Nick loves his club with a passion and he wants to win. We speak regularly and ultimately he'll want to see results.

"Every coach knows that's what you'll be judged on. It's no different here to any other club in the NRL."




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