JUST five days after being awarded life membership of the Wests Tigers, former player and current strength and conditioning coach John Skandalis has been sacked.
Skandalis confirmed he’d met with incoming coach Jason Taylor yesterday and been advised his services in that particular role were not needed for 2015.
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He said he was very disappointed with the decision but respected Taylor’s need to bring in his own people.
“He’s got a job to do and I respect his decision. I wish him all the best,” Skandalis said.
Wests Tigers CEO Grant Mayer met with Skandalis this morning and has since offered the loyal clubman a role next season, in a capacity yet to be decided.
An overjoyed Skandalis said he was “looking forward to a new challenge”.
“I’m looking to stay a the club; we just have to work through a few things,” he said.
Skandalis has been in the strength and conditioning role since 2010 although he took a break during the season to pull back on a Western Suburbs Mapgies jersey before a shock call-up from Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens to assist his injury-plagued NRL team.
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John Skandalis is tackled during Wests Tigers v Brisbane Broncos NRL game at Campbeltown Stadium.
The loyal prop played another five games for the club and fell just short of making his 250th NRL appearance.
In his final game, he set a club record as its oldest player – at 34 years and 75 days.
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The gentle giant was always a favourite of Macarthur area fans. He was the young larrikin from Macquarie Fields who discovered a talent for rugby league, and then set himself and achieved some exemplary goals.
Some career highlights included scoring the first goal for the joint-venture club in its first game in 2000, being the last Magpie in the Wests Tigers team, winning the 2005 premiership and vice-captaining the Huddersfield Giants in the English Super League.
John Skandalis during West Tigers NRL training session in 2009 before his return to first-grade football with the Wests Tiger.
Wests Tigers supporter Terry Manns has followed John Skandalis’s career since he played with the Magpies and is a huge fan.
“Skando has served under Sheens and Potter and put his heart and soul in the Wests Tigers, and this is like a kick in the guts,” Manns said. “Why would you get rid of someone so valuable?”