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Australian Football: Five best Aussie coaches of all time

Ange Postecoglou guided Celtic to the Scottish Premiership title in the 2021/22 season to make him one of the top Aussie coaches of all time, and he is in good company.

Australia of course are a very proud sporting nation and have produced some superstars that have gone on to shine on the world stage.

It can be a little harder for a coach. Landing a coaching role outside of Australia is tough as the competition for the top jobs is fierce to say the least.

However back on home soil there has been great success for a number of coaches in Aussie Rules, Rugby League, Soccer and Basketball in particular.

The list of successful coaches is a lengthy one so let’s narrow it down a bit by taking a look at arguably the top five Australian coaches in all sports.

Ange Postecoglou (Soccer)

Being a successful soccer coach outside of Australia is a big ask and that is why Postecoglou has to go down as one of the top Australian coaches.

Many eyebrows were raised when the former Socceroos coach was handed the hot seat at Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Celtic had finished the previous season without a trophy and there was a big question mark over whether Postecoglou was the man to reverse their fortunes.

However he did just that when delivering the Scottish Premiership title in his first season.

Before heading to Celtic, Postecoglou became the first Australian coach to win the J-League in Japan when guiding Yokohama F.Marinos to glory in 2019.

Back on home soil Postecoglou guided Brisbane Roar to back-to-back Championships in 2010/11 and 2011/2012.

Wayne Bennett (Rugby League)

Bennett is having a break this season but will be back in the NRL in 2023 when he takes charge of the NRL’s 17th club, the Dolphins, in their debut season.

Bennett was recently voted the greatest rugby league coach of all time. And with very good reason.

The ‘super coach’ has been involved in 10 grand finals, winning seven of them. His latest appearance was the 2021 grand final with South Sydney, who were beaten by the Penrith Panthers.

He also has six minor premierships to his name and has been named Dally M coach of the year on three occasions.

Bennett has coached a massive 886 NRL games, winning 554 of them. He will get the chance to build on that with the Dolphins next year.

It will be a huge job for Bennett, but if anyone can pull it off then the super-coach can. He has also coached Queensland in State of Origin with great success, Australia, England and Great Britain.

Craig Bellamy (Rugby League)

Bellamy is a legend of the game and the Melbourne Storm are still going stronger than ever and are pushing for another premiership in the 2022 NRL campaign.
Bellamy has been with the Storm since 2003 and has missed finals just once in that time.

He has appeared in nine grand finals, winning five of them and has also won eight minor premierships. His reign has not been without controversy though as the Storm were stripped of their 2007 and 2009 premierships due to salary cap breaches.

Bellamy blamed the administration of the club and completely defended his players. They still had to shed $1million of playing talent in 2011 which resulted in 14 players leaving the club.

However Bellamy rebuilt the side and they went on to win the premiership in 2012.

Leigh Matthews (Aussie Rules)

Matthews had a hugely successful career as a player when making 332 appearances for Hawthorn before moving into coaching.

He coached Collingwood between 1986 and 1995, guiding them to grand final glory in his fifth season in charge.

But it was with the Brisbane Lions that he achieved his greatest coaching success after coming out of retirement in 1999.

Matthews took the Lions to grand final glory in 2001, 2002 and 2003. They also made the big dance in 2004 but on this occasion they lost to Port Adelaide.

Matthews resigned at the end of the 2008 season, never to coach again. He coached 467 games throughout his career, winning 267 of them.

Trevor Gleeson (Basketball)

Gleeson will go down as a hugely successful coach after guiding the Perth Wildcats to five NBL titles during his time with the club.

He coached the Wildcats between 2013 to 2021 guiding them to the championship in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020.

He was also named the NBL coach of the year in 2011 and 2021 before he moved on to the NBA to become assistant coach at the Toronto Raptors.

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