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Random Tigers articles from the media

WA Tiger

Bench
Messages
2,673
and toughness and determination…People forget how good this bloke was as a player and a coach.
It’s not about having a good coach or winning any more it’s all about developing the juniors …Madges wife must be licking her lips and pissed off they cant spend all that loot falling from the sky on a decent holiday
 
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stryker

Bench
Messages
4,316
I think you are rewriting history a bit re: Benji.

He left the club, (do you not remember him in a rugby jersey) not the other way around?

But, didn’t the club offer him a lifeline, when no one else wanted him for 2 seasons? He was then offered work after footy here, but he rejected it?
He left when the club reneged on a deal that he had sorted with Sheens.
 

Tigerm

Bench
Messages
4,541

Benji Marshall's manager Martin Tauber says the former New Zealand captain appears lost to rugby league and headed to rugby union.

Tauber confirmed Marshall had formally sought a release from the Wests Tigers on the final two years of his contract.

A Wests Tigers football sub-committee will meet on Tuesday night and is expected to grant the release.

Marshall was seeking an upgrade to his contract to about $1 million a year.

This was verbally agreed to by former Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys who is no longer in the role.

But the proposed new contract never eventuated following the departure of Humphreys from the club in May.

"There have been protracted negotiations since January," Tauber told Fox Sports.

"It's now July and still no agreement. There were handshake deals that never eventuated."

Tauber says it is no longer about the money.

"The club has still made a healthy offer but Benji has made his decision," he said.

"After 13 years at the one club Benji needs a change. He wants to get his mojo back and it looks like that will have to happen in rugby."

Tauber says Marshall is too loyal to Tigers fans to go to another NRL club.

His manager has had discussions with the New South Wales Waratahs and there is also interest from overseas rugby clubs.

The Waratahs have denied they are about to sign Marshall but Tauber hinted he would fit in nicely in the Waratahs back-line with former league star Israel Folau.

"He's had a conversation with Izzy [Folau] about playing rugby union. They would be a devastating duo," Tauber said.

Tigers surprised and disappointed​

Interim Tigers chief executive Grant Meyer says the club is surprised and disappointed that Marshall wants out.

Meyer says a generous offer was made to Marshall but the club is ready to accept that he will not be part of the Tigers beyond this season.

That offer is believed to be over $700,000 a year.


"'We are genuinely disappointed with the outcome," Meyer said.

"Six days after I started in the chair we tabled an offer to Benji that was fair and reasonable."

Meyer says the NRL has been involved in the process including several conversations with the Tigers this morning.

"We're disappointed. He's made that call for his family and himself and we respect that," he said.

"It's been tough. He's been a big part of this club.

"We have to acknowledge that the man helped build this club but we have to move forward."

Marshall's captain and team-mate of the past decade Robbie Farah said he was shocked and disappointed when Marshall phoned him on Monday to advise he was leaving the Tigers.

Remembering this was back in 2013?
 

Tiger05

First Grade
Messages
8,576
I don't know what that article adds to anything. We've stuffed up with our recruitment and retention for years. We screwed over our top 2 players but they also screwed us over. We had a captain who was a complete twat as well as an overrated player. We had a superstar player who was a spoiled brat who wanted everything his own way including getting his horse whisperer bullshit artist in to coach the club. We had an incompetent coach managing that difficult situation. Then we had the worse first grade recruitment I've ever seen by a guy who can probably coach but you want him no where near your club because the long term damage is huge.

That article makes out it's a Wests vs Balmain issue which I think one moron on here goes on about but no one else does.

I do see too much player power but I don't even think those players got their way. It was poorly managed but it also shows how destabilizing an influence players like Turdesco & Woods etc can be.

I hope we stick with Madge at this point. I think this club has screwed itself over so much and I think we are heading in the right direction. If we get some luck we can turn it around.
 

Ron's_Mate

Bench
Messages
3,727
A crisis of identity: The real tales from Tiger town

By Michael Chammas
September 4, 2021

The Wests Tigers have begun an internal review of another failed season resulting in a record 10th straight year without finals football. The findings will have major ramifications for the club’s future.

Attention in the coming weeks will inevitably turn to coach Michael Maguire’s position at the club, but it is impossible to ignore the consequences of key decisions dating back to the club’s establishment in 1999.

The Herald has spoken to 30 people who have been involved with the club in an attempt to answer the question of how a team that should be an NRL powerhouse has instead spent a decade in the wilderness.

“I would have loved to coach the Tigers,” seven-time premiership-winning coach Wayne Bennett tells the Herald when asked why he turned down an approach from the club following Ivan Cleary’s sudden departure at the end of 2018.

“The offer was good. The money was great. There wasn’t a drama. It’s the Wests Tigers – everyone likes them. Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall were icons of that club.

“When I first came into coaching, Balmain was a top club with Blocker (Steve Roach) and Benny Elias. I always respected those guys and what they built.”


In referencing two Balmain greats, Bennett unwittingly raises two key questions about the club: have the Wests Tigers developed an identity of their own?

And if that identity is founded on “icons” such as Marshall and Farah, what happens to the Tigers’ sense of themselves when those players are no longer around?

They are questions that many believe are at the heart of the Wests Tigers all-too-familiar current malaise.

A CRISIS OF IDENTITY

For a time, the Wests Tigers had an identity. Not Balmain. Not Western Suburbs. The Wests Tigers.

Under the coaching of Tim Sheens, who took charge of the club in 2003, they established a reputation as the league’s great entertainers. Benji, Robbie, Sunday afternoons at Leichhardt, trick plays and feelgood footy.

A maiden premiership was achieved in thrilling fashion: Marshall’s stunning flick pass for Pat Richards to crown a length-of-the-field move with a try in the grand final remains an iconic moment.

But there was a problem. The foundations were built on sand. When the stars moved on, or their form dipped, that identity dissipated and old divisions dating back to the club’s formation soon reappeared.

During his time as NRL chief executive from 2016 to 2020, Todd Greenberg never felt the Wests Tigers were able to fully articulate what they stood for.

“I just don’t think they’ve ever really figured out who they should be,” Greenberg tells the Herald. “The single biggest challenge for the long-term success of the Wests Tigers is to nail down their own identity.

“I reckon they’ve underperformed for so long primarily because they are trying to keep everyone happy. But all that does is dilute what they should be, which is the Wests Tigers.”

The club was conceived in 1999 after an uncomfortable arranged marriage of the Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies in order to survive the cull of clubs that followed the Super League war, benefiting from a multimillion-dollar incentive package offered by the NRL to clubs willing to merge.

The Magpies had held discussions with the Penrith Panthers, North Queensland Cowboys and New Zealand Warriors, but felt it would be a minor partner in those mergers. So too Balmain in its conversations with Parramatta.

The Wests Tigers were born when Balmain and Wests agreed to a 50-50 partnership. But it didn’t take long for things to change. Players were being signed without the knowledge of the supposed partner.

“From the very first board meeting, it was determined that the future of the club was in the south-west corridor, specifically in the Macarthur region,” says Martin Bullock, the Wests Tigers’ first chief executive.

“Everyone went back to their own boards after that meeting, and they quickly changed hats and began to look after their own interests. Never in my time was there a united focus on the future of the club.”

A former employee of the joint venture said that there were three types of people at the Tigers: Balmain people, Wests people and people that needed to pick a side.

Balmain legend Wayne Pearce was the club’s inaugural coach, and struggled to deal with the hostilities between the factions.

“It was perceived as a forced marriage,” Pearce said. “There were a lot of trust issues that I experienced. It drained me to the point where I walked away from it. I had another two years on my contract as a coach, but it drained me to the point where I needed to move on.“

“I found it to be a different club to any club I’d been with,” says former coach Mick Potter of his time at the helm from 2013 to 2014. “It was a political hotbed.

“I knew the first day I went in there it was going to be a tough gig. I went in there to coach, not be a politician. It was conflicted. They were pretending to try and make something of a tough situation, but both clubs didn’t want to lose their identity.”

Former NRL CEO Dave Smith attempted, with some success, to force the factions towards a common purpose when he restructured the club’s board at the end of 2014.

Three independents, including chair Marina Go, were added to the board, with two directors each from Balmain and Wests. It was a stark change to the 5-5 boardroom split in the first 15 years of the joint venture’s existence.

Majority control has since shifted to Wests Ashfield Leagues Club – the 90 per cent shareholders in the joint venture who now hold five of the eight seats on the Tigers board.

As a football team, the Wests Tigers have struggled to rediscover their own identity beyond that of constant mediocrity.

Incumbent coach Michael Maguire has tried to forge an identity built on guts and steel. In the recently aired Fox Sports documentary, Wild Wests: Tales from Tiger Town, Maguire is shown yelling at his players: “The Wests Tigers are always in a fight!“

Those words will ring hollow to those who have followed the club’s performances over the past decade.

The contents of the documentary have become the butt of jokes and on-field jibes from rival teams, who know from experience the Tigers are anything but.

After missing out on the finals for the 10th successive year, the Tigers now find themselves in a familiar position – whispers of discontent in the playing ranks, fingers being pointed at the coach and questions being asked of the club’s front office. All of this threatens to spill over into the club’s internal review.

“There will be a specific focus on the football department with an emphasis on this year’s results,” chairman Lee Hagipantelis tells the Herald.

“The results do not reflect the financial commitment and investment that this club has made to the football department, nor the potential of what we believe to be a very exciting young roster. Difficult questions need to be asked, but more importantly they must be answered.”

 

Ron's_Mate

Bench
Messages
3,727
(had to split this due to forum word limit)

THE RISE OF PLAYER POWER

Plenty have tried to put their finger on where things began to unravel for the Wests Tigers.

While there may be no one moment to point to as the catalyst, it is clear the signature of Adam Blair from Melbourne in 2012 had ramifications that are still being felt to this day.

After losing the preliminary final against St George Illawarra in 2010 thanks to a Jamie Soward field goal, then the 2011 semi-final after surrendering a 12-point lead to the Warriors, it seemed the Tigers’ entertaining playing style – summed up as “however many points you score, we’ll score more” had taken them as far as it could.

Sheens tinkered with his team and, in the process, tore at the gossamer-thin fabric of the young franchise’s core. Sheens had wanted to add some starch in the form of Blair, the boom Storm back-rower, who arrived on a four-year, $2 million deal.

Club officials assured Sheens the money spent on Blair would not affect the retention of other key squad members.

They were wrong. Bryce Gibbs, Andrew Fifita, Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington would soon be out the door, quickly followed by Mitch Brown, who left for the Bulldogs after the NRL told the Tigers that they were over the salary cap and could not register their new recruit’s contract until they made room.

Sheens felt he had been let down by club powerbrokers, but did not tell the players of his frustrations with the bosses. Consequently, he wore the blame for the break-up of the close-knit team. It cost him the trust of his players and, ultimately, his job at the end of the 2012 season.

It also triggered a dissatisfaction in the playing ranks towards the club’s decision-makers that remains to this day. While the protagonists have changed, the attitude of them-and-us which took root over a decade ago is today proving hard to completely eradicate.

As Sheens’ replacements came and went over the next 10 years, Marshall and Farah – heroes of the 2005 premiership side and adored by fans – became the faces of a perceived toxic division between coach and playing group at the Tigers. They would come to be known as “coach-killers”.

Marshall’s reputation as a problem was sealed when he walked away from the club – and the code – at the end of 2013 in a bitter dispute with head office and coach Potter.

Not, however, before Marshall posed in the jersey of his new club, New Zealand rugby union franchise the Auckland Blues, who he had signed with for the 2014 season while still contracted to the Tigers.

What hasn’t been reported until now is that Marshall forfeited close to $200,000 during his time at the club in an effort to keep the side together. He did so again in his second-coming, sacrificing $30,000 to help Chris Lawrence secure another year before retiring.

That’s why he was left furious by the club’s decision to renege on a long-term contract extension when the management changed in 2013. To those in charge, it added to the sense that the players were against them.

“I’m a little bit dirty on myself for the way I left,” Marshall said in a never-before-released interview when he returned to the Tigers in 2019. “I could’ve done things a lot better. I know that.

“The whole Auckland Blues jumper fiasco. The disrespect of doing that. I didn’t know it at the time, and people around me were telling me to do it. I was dumb enough to listen. It was my fault. I learnt a big lesson there.”

Jason Taylor took over from Potter at the start of the 2015 season, but also fell victim to player power after a fallout with Farah that ended with the hooker leaving for South Sydney. The episode only re-enforced the narrative that the Tigers were a club divided.

Taylor believed that Farah was a hindrance to the team he wanted to develop. The coach famously threatened to drop Farah – then earning around $900,000 per year – to reserve grade, creating a schism within the dressing room.

“The No.1 thing that was driving me was to give ownership of the team to Luke Brooks, Mitchell Moses, Aaron Woods and James Tedesco,” Taylor tells the Herald, breaking his four-year silence since his sacking in 2017.

“I think the way those four have progressed, particularly Tedesco – justifies the direction I was pushing the team. It was evident straight away that James Tedesco was going to be bloody special.”

Farah’s demotion to NSW Cup in the 2016 season did not prevent him being picked for all three State of Origin matches that year. But as the Tigers again failed to reach the finals, Farah shipped out to Souths.

Taylor, meanwhile, was punted as coach three rounds into the 2017 season after falling out of favour with the “Big Four”.

Taylor had pushed back against a directive from chief executive Justin Pascoe to allow renowned “football whisperer” Joe Wehbe, who was business partners with the quartet’s agent, Isaac Moses, into the fold.

“The idea was to basically have Wehbe coach the team, and Pascoe saw that as a way to sign the players,” Taylor admits. “It should have been a simple path to sign them all up but they were all managed by the same person. It made the process more difficult.”

Taylor has privately held the belief – since denied – that the Tigers had been given assurances from Isaac Moses that Woods, Tedesco, Brooks and Mitchell Moses would stay at the club if the coach was sacked. In the end, only Brooks remained, leaving Tigers fans in disbelief.

“I’m not proud of how things went down,” Woods tells the Herald. “At the time I thought what I was doing was right, but looking back I should’ve handled things differently.”

“I was the captain of the Wests Tigers. I grew up around the corner from Leichhardt Oval. I lost sight of what that meant and the responsibility I had continuing the legacy of the guys that came before me.

“I will always love the club. It kills me that we are sitting here today and the club still hasn’t played finals football. I didn’t wish that upon the club. It’s a club that should have its name up in lights, not people shitting on it all the time.”

The departure of the three local juniors left a void in the ranks that the club tried to fill through recruitment. But an affinity with the jersey and an undeniable passion for the club could not be bought. It was a lesson the Tigers were about to learn.

 

Ron's_Mate

Bench
Messages
3,727
split again due to word limit

RECRUITMENT TROUBLE

Inside a hired-out conference room at the Novotel in Brighton midway through the 2017 season, new coach Ivan Cleary and then head-of-football Kelly Egan made a pitch to a number of players about joining the Wests Tigers.

The first signing they wanted to make in the post-Big Four era was English five-eighth Gareth Widdop. The offer of a four-year, $3.5 million contract wasn’t enough to lure him away from the Dragons.

They then turned their attention to Canterbury’s Josh Reynolds, offering him $800,000 a season for four years when the Bulldogs were only willing to spend $500,000 on a shorter-term deal.

“I told him, ‘If you were my son, I would be driving you to the Wests Tigers right now’,” former Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib tells the Herald.

Officials have referred to recruitment calls during that period as a game of Supercoach – decisions made without major considerations of long-term consequences.

It wasn’t so much the players that were bought, which also came to include Ben Matulino, Russell Packer and Moses Mbye, but the money and duration of the contracts being offered.

Maguire, who took the reins in 2019, says his ability to improve the roster was severely limited as a result of Cleary’s spending spree.

“We couldn’t do anything for two years,” Maguire tells the Herald. “That was it. To create change, you needed to have ability in the salary cap and we were very restricted for two years.”

While Cleary has borne the brunt of criticism, Pascoe accepts his share of the blame for the deals made on his watch during that time.

“I put trust in the coach and head of football in their recommendations,” Pascoe, who was Cleary’s best friend when he appointed him in 2017, says.

“I’m always happy to take all responsibility as CEO for decisions made at this club. I sit on a football committee and there is a whole raft of rigour around delegations of authority.

“Certainly since that time we now place more rigour around valuations, data and analytics. We challenge that on benchmarking and salary cap balance.”

At the start of 2018, Cleary’s first full season in charge, the Tigers were handed the kind of draw that keeps coaches awake at night. Roosters once. Melbourne twice. And that was just in the first month.

But the Tigers won five of their first six, raising hopes that they could end what was by then a seven-year finals drought.

The club appeared to be getting back on track. Marshall and Farah were brought back home. The team was playing good football. And, if you believed the talk at the time, a highly-rated young halfback called Nathan Cleary was on his way to join his dad at Concord.

The board asked Pascoe to commence negotiations with Ivan about a contract extension – which the coach indicated he was willing to consider. But a month or so later, with speculation mounting over Nathan’s future, Ivan parked the bus.

For all the mistakes that have been made by the Tigers – and there have been many – many at the club have struggled to overcome the reality that the most significant event in their recent history was one they could not control.

The Tigers were unaware that Nathan had told his father he didn’t want to leave Penrith. Suddenly, Ivan said his contract talks could wait. It was more important to concentrate on the season.

Little was thought of it at the time but, in hindsight, it was a classic sliding doors moment. The worst was about to unfold.

DON’T MISS PART TWO IN TOMORROW’S SUN-HERALD

Part two of the Herald’s investigation into the Wests Tigers focuses on the erosion of trust between coach, club and players - which is restricting the joint venture’s ability to capitalise on its off-field resurgence.

 

Shredder

Juniors
Messages
1,326
Thats an interesting read. When you get it in dribs and drabs over the years its water off a ducks back, but to read it like that you can see the shit storm we are in.
 
Messages
2,732
Yes an interesting read, dribs and drabs equals lies and just rumours for fans as we really do not know who or what to believe.

From the read, I can blame a few and feel sorry for a few but, someone else reading the story wouldn’t blame the few or feel sorry for anyone, that’s life.

I do feel sorry for the Balmain, Western Suburbs and West Tiger fans though, shit, we have put up with too much.
 
Messages
8,201
All this history and revisionim is fine, but right here and now, I can’t see this soul searching achieving much.

At the end of the day, bringing in good people for the future is the only thing that is going to save us. The past has gone!

No one should forget Sheens was head hunted due to an underlying lack of confidence in Madge. A small insurance policy, we may call in.
 
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Messages
3,174
So factions within the club, people with their own agendas at the expense of the club, having no identity with a ridiculous number of so called home grounds, neglecting junior development , poor retention and woeful signings, salary cap fiascos etc. no wonder we are a basket case and haven’t reached the semi finals in a decade.
 

Das Hassler

Juniors
Messages
2,267
Just watching the dragons....how the journos arent calling for a royal commission into the structure and what that club stands for anymore is a total mystery....they're that insipid that i can't even visualize them in WT jerseys.
 

stryker

Bench
Messages
4,316
I feel like I knew most of that, but not the whole story.
I didn’t know that Sheens took the fall for the Blair fiasco and did not orchestrate it.
I did know that both Potter and Taylor were the fall men for us losing Marshal and Farah and not the orchestrators.
When added to the green lit Cleary spending spree, a problem becomes very evident…the financial controllers within the club administration are useless, treacherous merkins who should not be in their positions.
It is a good investigative piece and part 2 should be just as interesting.
 

stryker

Bench
Messages
4,316
Oh and I sincerely wish that the Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies and their associated dinosaurs would just F UCK OFF and DIE!!!
 

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