Wests Tigers in turmoil but Potter keeps his job – for now

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AS if going down 28-12 to St George Dragons wasn’t enough, the Wests Tigers today added self inflicted wounds to confirm that the club is in crisis. And the board decision after the match to leave Mick Potter in charge only until the end of this season has only added fuel to the fire that changes are afoot at Concord.

This morning there was speculation head coach Mick Potter was about to be punted because he had lost support of the board.

Tonight, just minutes after the team threw away a golden opportunity to climb up the NRL ladder, Channel 9 reported that captain Robbie Farah, fed up at the back office shenanigans, had earlier today instructed his manager to arrange a release from his contract. Farah was also ropeable that a former player turned media commentator had alleged he had said to him that ”Potter can’t coach”.

Farah is currently contracted to the Tigers until 2017. His manager, Sam Ayoub, told Channel 9 that Farah was simply frustrated at all the talk about the coach and that he somehow was partly responsible for it.

Channel 9 showed footage of Farah going into a meeting with Potter after the St George game at ANZ Stadium and later fronting the media pack at the regular post match press conference, where he denied that he was in any way responsible for Potter’s fate.

Farah, facing his former spine partner, Benji Marshall, who was wearing a jumper with a number 7 on the back and a big red V on the front, was clearly a frustrated man, although to be fair he was one of the Tigers’ better performers on the day. He scored one of his team’s two tries and set up many more, but fumbles from his teammates resulted in turnovers.

The game was lost in the first half when St George raced to a 22-0 lead, while the Tigers just kept wasting their opportunities. Whatever happens about Potter, the Tigers are still in with a chance to play finals football, but their chances just got reduced by a little bit.

But the board did go ahead and have a meeting at ANZ stadium after the game. Afterwards it confirmed in a media statement that Potter would be head coach until the end of the n2014 season. The statement in full said:

”Following intense speculation regarding the future of Mick Potter as Head Coach of Wests Tigers, the Club’s Board has met tonight and decided that contract negotiations will be put on hold until the club’s 2014 campaign comes to an end.

The meeting was originally convened on the basis that Mick Potter requested direction on his future.

The Board and Management fully support the coaching staff and players and want to give them every chance to push towards a top eight finish this season.

Wests Tigers Chairman Mike Bailey said that the focus for the Club needs to be on the field.

“The team has fought hard to put us in a position to compete for a top eight finish in 2014,” said Bailey. “Ongoing speculation about the Club’s three coaches is unhelpful and destabilising at a time where we need unity. Members and sponsors have voiced their disappointment at how this has been played out in the open forum. This stops now.”

Bailey went on to say that this decision was the best to allow Wests Tigers players to continue to focus on football.

“At no stage have the players approached the Board on matters relating to the coaching staff.”

Head Coach Mick Potter confirmed that he shares the Board’s sentiment.

“Ideally I would have like to have had this sorted months ago but am happy to put this to one side until our team’s future is known.”


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