It’s a feud worthy of a page-three spread in a glossy Hollywood magazine: the former player’s stunning revelation; the current player’s Oscar-winning performance.
On the morning of West Tigers’ clash with St George Illawarra, media outlets reported coach Mick Potter would be sacked as head coach following a meeting of the board the next day. Potter’s looming axing was supposedly a result of the senior playing group’s unhappiness with their coach. Poor old Potter was copping it from everyone. Enter Gorden Tallis.
For those who missed it, Gorden Tallis revealed West Tigers captain Robbie Farah told him 15 months earlier he believed Mick Potter couldn’t coach. It is a claim Farah emphatically denies.
Unfortunately, Potter had limited support. What he needed was some backing from his mates; what he got was a raging bull. And you know what they say: mess with the bull, you get the horns.
Some will say Tallis broke the “players code” – an alliance between all players, past and present. Essentially, he may have. But what we all need to appreciate is, Tallis was also sticking up for a mate when he needed it most. As if that wasn’t enough, Farah’s controversial manager Sam Ayoub questioned Tallis’ integrity. Not a wise move – just ask Ben Ross.
The role of the head coach is to deliver results. Currently, West Tigers sit on 22 competition points, just two wins shy of the top four. A fairly good position in anyone’s language, considering experts wrote them off at season’s start, some going as far as predicting a wooden spoon for the joint venture. Potter has coached them into a very comfortable position heading towards the finals, with a top-eight finish still a tall order, but certainly within their grasp.
It seems the only person at the Tigers with any common sense is Mick Potter. The same certainly can’t be said of CEO Grant Mayer. Anyone who thinks it’s beneficial to hire Brian Smith to conduct an audit on their operations is just short of nuts.
And it seems it’s not just the fans fed up with the lunacy. In an interview on Fox Sports earlier in the week, veteran winger Pat Richards stressed they just want to play footy.
“We just need to put all this crap behind us”, Richards said.
“The coach can coach, Robbie can play, and it’s as simple as that.”
If the Tigers are to be successful this year, a few things need to happen. First thing, Robbie Farah needs to come clean and apologise to Mick Potter – if, in fact, Tallis’ allegations have any semblance of truth. The sooner this happens the quicker the two can put it behind them and move forward. They are, at the end of the day, the two most influential figures among the playing group.
Second thing, get rid of Grant Mayer. It seems this debacle all eventuated when the so-called audit took place. It’s as if the bloke makes hasty decisions without any consideration of the consequences.
Thirdly, and I cant stress this one enough, scrunch up the piece of paper that has Brian Smith’s phone number on it and throw it in the bin where it belongs. Be careful though; he may just be watching, perhaps from his cherry picker.
The Tigers sit in a very comfortable position. Come September, with all this crap behind them, beware. They have proved this year they can play, defeating the top two sides, Manly and Souths convincingly earlier in the season. Throw in exciting young guns Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses, and they will prove to be quite a handful if they can get a piece of the finals action.
Follow Commentary Box Sports on Social Media!