Sacked Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter declares his intention to return to the NRL’s coaching ranks
DAVID RICCIO THE DAILY TELEGRAPH SEPTEMBER 20, 2014 12:00AM SHARE
MICK Potter drove into the car park at Concord Oval just before 9am on Wednesday morning.
There to meet him was Wests Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer.
Potter has been involved in rugby league long enough to know what was coming. After 22 tumultuous months, his position as head coach was over.
“Within the space of a couple of sentences I knew that my role at the Tigers was finished,’’ Potter told The Daily Telegraph on Friday.
“He (Mayer) didn’t mince his words.
“I went into the office and cleaned my desk out and then met a mate for a coffee.’’
In his first interview since his sacking from the dysfunctional Tigers, Potter has stuck true to his character and integrity, refusing to fire bullets at his former club despite a well-publicised white-ant job from within certain corridors of Concord which led to his departure.
While Potter admits he would dearly love to have received the autonomy that the soon-to-be appointed Tigers coach will be afforded, he felt comfortable that he was given a fair hearing in front of the new board to stake his claim.
Potter, 50, added that he has no plans to stop coaching while also anointing former St George-Illawarra hooker and current St Helens coach Nathan Brown as his possible successor.
Potter spoke with both the now defunct and the newly-appointed board of the Wests Tigers on three separate occasions over the past three months.
On each meeting he discussed a range of issues which were ultimately driven by the need for change and to take the club forward. Everything from the day-to-day running of the club, the need to update training facilities at Concord, what was required to steam line the club’s crippling salary cap and the urgent need to make a decision on who they wanted as head coach in 2015, were discussed.
His final appearance in front of the new board was last Monday.
“They were good. I don’t know if my cards were marked from the beginning, but they heard everything I had to say and I felt like I made a really good case for change,’’ Potter said.
“It looks like the next bloke, given their (media) statement is going to have what you need to have as a head coach, when it comes to coaching staff and running of the football team.
“They’ve decided to go in a new direction, but that’s what I would’ve liked.’’
Unlike many angry fans of the merged club, Potter refused to point fingers at Mayer as the reason for his dismissal, claiming the pair shared a ‘good working relationship’.
Still, Potter made it clear at Concord on Wednesday he was far from pleased with his sacking.
“I just questioned him (Mayer) on the reasoning,’’ Potter said.
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“However I was really happy to take the job on to be the coach of the Wests Tiger for those couple of years.
“The response from the players has been excellent, the support of the fans has been amazing given the circumstances that we went through.
“Everyone can hold their head up and say we’ve made some small steps forward.’’
Potter has coached all over the world while as a player, he was a two-time Dally M winner. Rugby league runs through his veins.
“But whether a head coaching opportunity comes up is another thing,’’ Potter said.
“I’d love to have a crack at that again, but I’d also be happy to stand in behind someone (as an assistant).
“People know that I’m trustworthy and loyal and would want to help the organisation and my priority has always been that the team comes first and that won’t deviate.’’
Of the many candidates being bandied to replace him in 2015 at the Tigers, Potter knows his old mate from St George-Illawarra, Nathan Brown best.
“It’s going to be really exciting for the next head coach,’’ Potter said.
“Sure, it’s tough being an NRL coach and this one will have its challenges, but there’s a group of young men there that have a lot of upside.
“I think all the names that have been tossed up would be good for the organisation, but I know Nathan pretty well and I think his experience now that he’s been at Saints, Huddersfield and St Helens with that time he’s had to develop as a coach, he would do a great job.’
Classy to the End…Bravo Mick best of luck in the future…
Interesting that he has backed Brown to succeed him…