FROM BRENT READ AT THE AUSTRALIAN
Only a month or so ago, St George Illawarra chair Andrew Lancaster insisted that the Dragons board was a united force.
They didn't always agree, he said, but ultimately they sang from the same hymn sheet.
Good boards, Lancaster insisted, should provide opportunities for directors to have differing views on issues.
The day is fast approaching when we find out exactly how united they are. Revelations that the club has told Anthony Griffin that he is coaching
Griffin has been under the pump for months. A straw poll at the start of the season would have suggested that Griffin was skating on thin ice heading into round one.
Splitting his opening two games hasn't exactly eased the pressure. After beating
Gold Coast to open their season, the Dragons fell apart in the dying stages against Brisbane at Suncorp
Stadium, all their good work undone in the final 10 minutes.
With every try, the sands shifted again under
Griffin's feet. His grip on the Dragons job weakened a little more. On Sunday night they face Cronulla at Jubilee Stadium and another defeat will heap pressure on the Dragons coach.
Yet if he is to go, St George Illawarra must plot a path forward and that will take a unified approach.
The joint venture demands it. Under the terms of the merger between St George and Illawarra, the appointment of the coach must be a unanimous call.
There is room for debate but not for disagreement.
They can butt heads but when push comes to shove, they need to be on the same page, The directors must find a candidate and throw their support behind that person. One in, all in has to be the merger's mantra. That may be harder than it soundsSt George Illawarra are a club divided given talk that the Dragons board aren't always on the same page.
The whispers out of St George Illawarra haven't changed. For as long as the joint venture has been in existence, there have been suggestions they don't always see eye-to-eye. Fractured is the common theme. It adds another layer to the club's potential search for a new coach. Should the club elect to move on from Griffin, there are obvious candidates with Dragons bloodlines in Jason Ryles, Dean Young and Ben Hornby.There are proven premiership winners in Shane Flanagan, Des Hasler and Michael Maguire. The issue won't be finding a suitable candidate. They will be queuing up at the door for the chance to take over the club. That will be the easy part. The difficult part is likely to be agreeing on their preferred candidate. There are factions on the board who are known to favour the likes of Ryles and Horny should they decide that Griffin is no longer the answer - that said, Ryles has a contract with the Roosters as an assistant and may be reluctant to break it.
There are others who may decide to head in another direction. The club has already told Griffin they will begin sourcing candidates and then whittle those down to a shortlist that may or may not be required.
Whether it is will depend on how Griffin and the Dragons perform over the next month or so. The results will do that for him. Win and he gives himself every chance of staying in the role. Lose and the decision will be made for him.
The draw has been kind. After the Sharks, they face the Dolphins, Titans, Canberra, the Sydney Roosters, Bulldogs and Tigers over a six-week period. They should reasonably expect to win the vast majority of those games.Griffin has been given every chance to reach the dreaded eight-game mark with a winning record.
There are no excuses. If he can't get it done, the club will step up their search for a replacement.
Finding someone to step into the breach won't be the issue.