Chris 'Opes' Anderson

Coaching Career

Vital Statistics

Nickname(s)
Opes
Born
Wednesday, 28th May, 1952
Current Age
71 years and 273 days
Place Of Birth
Condobolin, New South Wales, Australia

Awards & Accolades

Dally M Coach Of The Year
1993, 1998

Known Family Links

Brother-in-law
Kevin Moore
Son
Ben Anderson

Biography

C’bury flankman played fifteen seasons with the club before returning from a highly successful career in England to coach the Bulldogs to an amazing premiership title in 1995. Originally from Condoblin, Anderson's ability to finish off attacking moves was almost uncanny. A small man, he was able to position himself for the final pass or beat the defence with sheer pace. Anderson came to C’bury from Forbes in 1970 and scored the winning try in a Third Grade semi-final despite still being an unregistered player. The first recipient of the club's highly successful scholarship program for young players, he soon secured a first-grade spot at fullback before switching to the wing where he established several long-standing records with the club. One of the first of the modern brand of wingers granted a 'roving commission' to link with the attack anywhere on the field, representative honours came to him in 1974 when he was chosen for NSW. The following year, while playing for Widnes, he scored 23 tries in the 1974-75 English League season before gaining the rare honour of being flown back to play a winning role in the Challenge Cup final. Within weeks of his return he represented Sydney, NSW and Australia against NZ in the 1975 World Cup. In 1978 he surpassed Eddie Burns' club try-scoring record and toured with the Kangaroos, playing in all five Tests. A member of the Ashes-winning team which defeated Great Britain 3-nil, he was a try-scorer in C’bury's 19-4 win over Easts the following year - the club's first premiership in 38 years. A NZ tourist with the Australian team in 1980, Anderson later took over as C’bury club captain and scored a record 19 tries in 1983 to take his club tally past the century mark. In 1984 he was dropped after his return from a broken arm injury by new coach Warren Ryan and he left the club after a record 284 grade games to play with Hull KR in England. Anderson took on the captain-coach role with English club Halifax (1984-88) and after coaxing legendary fullback Graham Eadie out of retirement, the 'Australian connection' (together with Martin Meredith and Grant Rix) took the lowly ranked club to a 19-18 victory over St Helens in the final of the 1987 Challenge Cup. After Halifax's loss to Wigan in the 1988 Cup final, Anderson returned to C’bury as a lower grade coach and took over from Phil Gould as first grade mentor in 1990. Named Coach of the Year in 1993, he saw his team comprehensively beaten by Canberra in the 1994 grand final before taking the Bulldogs to victory against odds-on favourites Manly in the premiership decider the following year. A leading catalyst in C’bury’s breakaway to the proposed Super League competition, 1997 proved to be a season of disharmony, which found Anderson’s career at the crossroads. In a bold move, he signed on as foundation coach of the Melbourne Storm, taking the fledgling club to the preliminary final in 1998. Anderson was named as Wayne Bennett’s successor as Australian coach for the 1999 ANZac Test but handled the sacking of hooker Craig Gower poorly, publicly stating that the Penrith rake was injured when in fact he was dropped for disciplinary reasons. Anderson though, wasn’t afraid to make the tough decisions - sacking his son Ben from the Storms’ first grade team on the eve of the semi-finals, moving winger Matt Geyer to pivot and replacing him as goal-kicker with Craig Smith (Geyer was the season’s leading point-scorer at the time). He finished the 1999 season with two career milestones - masterminding Melbourne’s stunning grand final win over St George and guiding Australia to a Tri-series Test victory over NZ and Great Britain. Although the Melbourne Storm struggled in its premiership defence the following year, Anderson took the national team to World Cup victory in October. In 2001, after a highly publicised row with Melbourne powerbrokers John Ribot and Chris Johns, Anderson resigned as coach and linked with the Sharks for 2002. Single-minded in his approach and openly critical of official interference in the day-to-day running of his teams, part of the problem at Melbourne was Anderson’s unswerving commitment to the Australian team, which recorded Test wins over NZ and Papua New Guinea before the shortened Kangaroo Tour was finally given the go-ahead. Watching the vital Third Test of the Ashes series, Anderson was rushed to hospital suffering a recurrence of chest pains (it was later confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack). After six weeks convalescing in England, Anderson returned home to take up his coaching duties with the Sharks. His time with the club proved divisive, dropping club favourites Preston Campbell, Nick Graham and Dean Treister and backing new recruit Brett Kimmorley. After guiding Australia to a series whitewash against Great Britain (possibly his finest achievement as coach despite the controversy of choosing non-tour member Darren Smith for the Third Test) he returned to Australia and was sacked by Sharks management. Anderson later took up a coaching position with the Gwent Dragons in Welsh Rugby Union before succeeding sacked coach Ricky Stuart at the Sydney Roosters for 2007.
- ALAN WHITICKER

Coaching Career Statistics

All statistics shown in this section are based only on data available in the RLP database, and are not necessarily a complete and/or 100% accurate representation of a player's career. This information should be used as a guide only. If you see a question mark (?), it denotes that the figure is not available.

To view a list of corresponding matches, click on the List button.

Competitions

Competition   Games W L D Win %  
Regal Trophy 8 5 3 0 62.50% List
English Championship 104 55 40 9 52.88% List
Challenge Cup 15 11 3 1 73.33% List
Yorkshire Cup 6 3 3 0 50.00% List
Premiership Trophy 6 3 3 0 50.00% List
Charity Shield - UK 1 1 0 0 100.00% List
Tour Matches Halifax Panthers 1 0 1 0 0.00% List
NRL 337 192 139 6 56.97% List
City vs Country 2 1 1 0 50.00% List
NRL Finals 20 10 10 0 50.00% List
Anzac Tests 2 2 0 0 100.00% List
Tri-Nations 3 2 1 0 66.67% List
Tour Matches Australia 8 8 0 0 100.00% List
World Club Challenge 1 1 0 0 100.00% List
World Cup 6 6 0 0 100.00% List
The Ashes 6 5 1 0 83.33% List
Test Series 6 5 1 0 83.33% List
Anzac Cup 1 1 0 0 100.00% List


International

Test Matches - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Australia 1999-03 25 22 3 0 88.00% List

World Cup Matches - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Australia 1999-2000 6 6 0 0 100.00% List


Representative

Australia - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
NSW Country 1993-94 2 1 1 0 50.00% List


Club Career

NRL/NSWRL - By Year

Team Season Games W L D Win %  
Canterbury NSWRL 1990 22 12 9 1 54.55% List
Canterbury NSWRL 1991 23 13 9 1 56.52% List
Canterbury NSWRL 1992 22 10 10 2 45.45% List
Canterbury NSWRL 1993 24 17 7 0 70.83% List
Canterbury NSWRL 1994 24 19 5 0 79.17% List
Sydney Bulldogs ARL 1995 26 18 8 0 69.23% List
Canterbury ARL 1996 21 11 10 0 52.38% List
Canterbury Super League 1997 19 10 9 0 52.63% List
Melbourne NRL 1998 27 18 8 1 66.67% List
Melbourne NRL 1999 28 19 9 0 67.86% List
Melbourne NRL 2000 27 14 12 1 51.85% List
Melbourne NRL 2001 7 2 5 0 28.57% List
Sharks NRL 2002 27 16 11 0 59.26% List
Cronulla NRL 2003 24 8 16 0 33.33% List
Sydney NRL 2007 16 5 11 0 31.25% List

NRL/NSWRL - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Canterbury 1990-97 181 110 67 4 60.77% List
Melbourne 1998-01 89 53 34 2 59.55% List
Sharks 2002-03 51 24 27 0 47.06% List
Sydney 2007 16 5 11 0 31.25% List
Overall1990-2007 337 192 139 6 56.97% List

English Career - By Year

Team Season Games W L D Win %  
Halifax 1984/85 23 11 10 2 47.83% List
Halifax 1985/86 37 22 9 6 59.46% List
Halifax 1986/87 42 26 15 1 61.90% List
Halifax 1987/88 37 18 18 1 48.65% List

English Career - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Halifax 1984-87 139 77 52 10 55.40% List

Your Say

  • Anonymous
    10/09/2021

    Born May 2 1952, not May 28.

  • Anonymous
    21/09/2021

    Born May 2, 1952. Not May 28.

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Contributions: Greg Fiveash, Andrew Ferguson, Shawn Dollin, Paul Carter, Rugby League Tables, Alan Katzmann, Greg Stroud, Bill Bates, Max Turner, AJ Lucantonio

Sources: Irvin Saxton's Record Keepers' Club, Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1987-88, Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1985-86, Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1986-87