The Halfback and Forth – It was time.

I must apologise for the lack of blogs in recent times. I had visions of doing my blogs on a more regular basis, however as our season fell apart, so did my enthusiasm to write. One of the things I always try and deliver in my content is a rational perspective on any situation Rugby League related and in times like this, it’s very easy for misgivings and negativity to seep into anything we voice in a social media environment. Anyway, on to my point for this week.

When the Potter/Farah saga started some seven weeks ago, I was actually very surprised at the amount of fans that were showing and voicing their support for Mick. Let me preface this by saying that I think that Mick is a good man. He has acted with integrity despite the many turmoils and trials that he faced in his stint as coach of our beloved club. However while being of ‘Good Character’ means you’re a good person, it does not necessarily mean you are a good coach.

Cold hard facts are damning, and simply put finishing 15th (2013) and 13th (2014) is not something you can consider a success in a two year tenure. I can already hear the defence cases. “What of our injury toll?” No doubt it has impacted our performance over the course of the years, however other clubs have had their fair share of injuries over the last two years two. The Panthers are a prime example of this. For a fairly large chunk of this season they have been without their first and second choice halves partners to Jamie Soward. While Segyaro has been a great buy for them, at the start of the year Kevin Kingston was their first choice Hooker who also succumb to injury. Add to that the likes of Elijah Taylor, Tyrone Peachy and Bryce Cartwright who have all been a major part of the Panthers forward pack and you can see that we’re not the only ones that have fought injury daemons. Does that mean we should dismiss the impact of injuries on the Tiges? Not by a long shot, however we have to acknowledge that we’re not the only ones.

We had some great wins this year, but we slid in a big, big way and had some horrid losses. To go from 5/7 to finish with 10/24 is pretty frightening and what concerned me personally was that we never saw Potter really unleash hell and bring out the inner mongrel, which is something I think is needed when coaching today’s personalities within the game. All of the top coaches in today’s game have it too – Bellamy, Hasler, Toovey, Madge, even Trent Robinson. Sometimes you do need the softly softly approach, and at other times you need a rocket right up your arse. Unfortunately, the latter was missing when it was probably needed most under Mick.

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I’ve seen a lot of people say that Mick should’ve received another year – which to me doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I stated a few months ago that any team that fired a coach in today’s environment ran a pretty big risk in their coaching selections. We’ve all seen the names thrown around for our next coach and I know you all have your own perspectives on who we should select and why, but it can not be denied that any club recruiting a coach this year or next is taking a risk. The coaches that I mentioned previously are all tied to their current clubs on either big money, or long term deals. But you need to look past that. Our current roster offers plenty of potential with what I consider to be a very delicate balance of young, promising stars and experienced players and to me, our best shot at a Premiership is going to be in 2016, or maybe 2017 at a stretch.

A lot of our current roster will either be seeking upgrades or extensions at that time and some tough decisions will have to be made. What happens to Manaia Cherrington, Tim Simona, David Nofoaluma etc etc? I accept that we will have to have other things fall into place for this to happen but to me, that will be our best possible chance for our next Premiership. Let’s throw a hypothetical out there – Imagine we give Mick one more year. 2015 season is done and dusted and we finish 11th, or 10th, or anywhere outside the 8. What do you think happens then? We try and introduce a new coach with the expectation that they deliver us a Premership in their first year? It’s an incredible expectation to put on anyone. The way I saw it, we either needed to offer Mick a two or three year extention and place all our hopes with him in delivering us a Premiership or we cut him loose now.

While Mick delivered a lot of good things to the club, of which I won’t go into detail in listing, I was still to be convinced that he had the ability to make the cut throat decisions required to be a truly top NRL coach. There were times this year where our attack was lacking any real threat or variety at all which to me was deeply alarming, as that was our greatest asset at other times, and especially given Mick’s playing history and knowledge of the game.

I could go on and on about the back office needing a shake up, or how the Board failed to support Mick when it matter, or how certain players in our team let us as fans down. Simply put, that’s been talked about enough between various blogs, media articles etc. At the end of the day my point is this. I thank Mick for his time at the Wests Tigers, and despite the fact that his sacking was disappointing for a lot of people, it was a tough decision that had to be made now. Sometimes in a professional environment, being a ‘Good Person’ does not make you the ‘Right Person’ for a role.

All other problems aside, I’m at least glad that this issue didn’t carry on well into the off season. Now we can move forward.

Sladie