Cordner says Roosters assistant is right for Knights

The tough back-rower also confirmed to the Herald he was all but certain to return from a calf injury next weekend against Penrith.

“Adam is definitely ready,” Cordner said in response to the Knights vacancy. “Since I’ve met Adam, we all know he’s ready for a head coach’s job.

“Hopefully he doesn’t go, because he’s been a big part of our success this year.

“He has a lot of experience and smarts, and just the way he delivers what he is trying to tell the group, it’s ‘A-1’ and very detailed.

“He knows his footy. He’s been around for a while now and worked under some of the best coaches.”

Cordner said he was yet to speak with O’Brien, nor had the club addressed the potential exit, “but Adam is at the Roosters at the moment, we have a job to do this year, and if you spoke to him he’d say the same thing”.

Adam O’Brien has been an assistant coach at both the Roosters and Storm.Credit:AAP

Others in the Newcastle mix include Storm assistant Jason Ryles, while Cameron Ciraldo, who spent time at the Knights as a player – and almost nabbed the Cronulla top job this season – has been viewed by plenty at Penrith as more than ready for the next step.

As for raiding Robinson’s production line of assistants, similar to the way clubs have tapped into Craig Bellamy’s understudies at Melbourne, Cordner said: “It’s only smart because of the success he has had here at the Roosters. Talk to any players who have played under him, and the raps they’ve given him, and the assistant coaches and what they have learned from him.

“It isn’t a surprise to me NRL clubs are looking towards the coaching ranks at the Roosters.


“‘Fitzy’ is as loyal as they come. I had a laugh to myself as soon as his name came up at Newcastle and then he came out and said, ‘nah, I’m not going anywhere’.

“That’s the type of bloke he is. He’s as loyal as they come and he’s a Rooster. I’m sure down track he might venture out to see what’s out there for him, but right now he’s focused on the Roosters.”

As reported in the Herald on Thursday, O’Brien has a clause in his contract that allows him to pursue a job elsewhere as a head coach. It was suggested he gave a verbal assurance he would stay put until at least the end of his second season, but this promise was disputed by O’Brien.

Blues coach and Roosters favourite Brad Fittler said the Knights job would be fantastic for whoever landed it because of the roster already assembled by Brown, including NSW Origin stars Mitchell Pearce, David Klemmer and Daniel Saifiti, as well as Maroons ace Kalyn Ponga and forward Tim Glasby.

“They now need to toughen up a bit. They’re a team who should be sitting higher up the ladder,” said Fittler, as the Blues were honoured with morning tea at Parliament House for their Origin success.

Cordner injured his calf against Canterbury, was named on an extended bench for last weekend’s win over the Warriors but did not play, then was omitted from the 21-man team list altogether for Saturday night’s trip to Kogarah against the Dragons.

He said it had partly been his fault for asking Robinson to include him on the bench against New Zealand even though he had not cleared it with the medical staff.

“I called Robbo and said, ‘mate, can you put me on the extended bench, I’m sweet to play’. But obviously having not spoken to the medical staff. That was my bad,” Cordner said.

“Hopefully I’m back next week. Actually, I think it will be next week. I’m sweet.”

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