Manly’s sacking of Geoff Toovey eerily similar to Wests Tigers disposal of former coach Mick Potter

Manly’s sacking of Geoff Toovey eerily similar to Wests Tigers disposal of former coach Mick Potter

Paul Crawley
The Daily Telegraph
July 30, 2015 5:33PM
LAST weekend marked the anniversary of the Wests Tigers’ infamous board meeting to set up Mick Potter’s sacking.

Imagine if the Tigers would have given Potter the same support Jason Taylor has been afforded this year.

You may remember it all came out late last July, just ahead of the Tigers’ crucial clash against the Dragons.

At that point the Tigers were still in the hunt for a top-eight finish after putting the cleaners through Canterbury a week earlier.

Mitchell Moses had starred against the Bulldogs, having a hand in no less than six tries in the 46-18 thrashing. Luke Brooks was also in fine touch at that point.


Then news was leaked on the Sunday the Tigers were set to take on the Dragons, that Potter was a dead man walking.

It turned out Potter was given a stay of execution, allowed to coach out the season, but from that day on Potter had no hope of keeping his job.

And when the new board took over at the end of the season, Potter was told the club was heading in a “new direction”.

Ask yourself this Tigers fans: Are you happy with the direction the club is heading in today?

On Friday night they take on the in-form Melbourne Storm with the Tigers sitting stone motherless last on the NRL ladder.

Was Mick Potter really that bad a coach, or did he get a raw deal?

We ask the question not only because it is the anniversary of that fateful Tigers board meeting, but also because this week two more coaches have been sacked. Geoff Toovey and Rick Stone.

In particular, Toovey’s dumping has many of the hallmarks of Potter’s demise.

Just like Potter, Toovey had no chance. He finished last year with the Sea Eagles equal first at the end of the regular season. But before a game was even played this year Manly insiders were saying “it is a results driven business”.

When I was told the same line, I nearly dropped the phone. It made absolutely no sense, but perfect sense for a club searching for an excuse to sack their coach.

If Toovey’s future was really going to be determined by results, I figured, then he should not have started this year under any pressure whatsoever.

I remember talking to Joe Kelly in early February who categorically told me that there were no plans to get rid of Toovey. Asked specifically if Toovey would see out his contract, Kelly said: “Absolutely. He is on a contract for two more years.”

We all know now it was always more to do with the Glenn Stewart situation than the fact Toovey could or couldn’t coach. And there is obviously more to it than any of us will probably ever know.

But the way it was handled from the outset just left a bad taste. It certainly did not justify Toovey’s outstanding service to the club.

The whispering campaigns, from within, undermined Toovey’s credibility and authority. As was the case with Potter at the Tigers last year.

The hope for Toovey and his supporters now is that he can somehow manage to salvage something from the destruction to his reputation, and get the Sea Eagles into the finals.

Imagine if they can beat the Broncos in Gosford and go on with it. Manly have a history of coming good when everyone rights them off. Geoff Toovey has been a significant part of that history.

Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor has struggled to get the best out of his team’s talents.

STILL on the Tigers, Jason Taylor seems to put a lot of focus on defence. It’s been pretty much his priority message this year, like he wants the Tigers to play like the Roosters.

Trouble is, they don’t have the Roosters’ roster. And as Taylor has pointed out, they won’t be recruiting for a good while to come.

So what do they do to turn it around?

Heading into the final weeks of the season, it would be great to see Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses play to their strengths, give the fans a reason to hope as they look ahead to next year. These two were born to attack, not defend.

The fact is if you go through any team their halves are usually the weakest defenders. The reason for that is they are usually the little blokes who everyone targets.

The good teams find a way to hide them, or protect them. Jamie Soward comes to mind. Darren Lockyer. Benji Marshall. Anthony Milford.

The reason Blake Austin is going so well at the Raiders this year is not because of his defence. And remember, Austin was the player the Tigers let go because Brooks and Moses were considered the future.

Come next year the word is these two will be on a similar salary to Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

But whereas Austin is on about half of that, he has been a standout in 2015 because he has been allowed to play what’s in front of him.

What is holding Brooks and Moses back?

While every coach thinks it is important that all players should be able to tackle, the last thing they would be looking for when they are recruiting halves is their ability to defend.

After last week’s loss, Taylor said he felt the Tigers should have won the game. As brave as they were, I reckon most people watching figured the match was only ever going to finish one way, unless the Roosters lost interest.

The Tigers finished with two tries, that was never going to beat the Roosters.

I liked the article, thought it made some good points. I expect however the usual the Daily Telegraph is toilet paper comments and most likely some slanderous story about Paul Crawleys personal life to follow soon.

Good article. Nothing new and possible originated from here but good to see the message is spreading.outside the club.

The drums are beating and it would seem that plenty in the media are now focusing on what we have known for some time, and that is the place at present is a shambles.

Time will tell If Go and her team can turn things around, but one thing that is different at Manly, they can always recruit themselves a half decent team, we never seem to have that luxury.

The journo was right with the comparison of Potter and Toovey,both were white anted from within and with heavy involvement from sections of the playing roster. The offloading of Glenn Stewart was the call that did Tooves in

I will say it again the club cannot afford not to sack Taylor at the end of the season. The supporters of this club will not put up with this rubbish next season!

Crawley is one of the few (only?) good RL writers at News Ltd. Good piece - the way Potter was treated was disgraceful.

JT seems to have a bit of media heat on him, and it’ll only intensify if we don’t turn the form around before now and the end of the season.

Yes Potter was treated badly , but that’s ancient history and we can’t change that

A good article hardly , if the journo can’t work out why we can’t hide Brooks and Moses because we have many defensive deficiencies across the park whether it be by bombs , lack of speed or lack of experience

@happy tiger:

Yes Potter was treated badly , but that’s ancient history and we can’t change that

A good article hardly , if the journo can’t work out why we can’t hide Brooks and Moses because we have many defensive deficiencies across the park whether it be by bombs , lack of speed or lack of experience

Aye happy.

He lost me with the second sentence. Firstly it’s two different boards he is comparing, and the way Potter was handled was one of the reasons the board was cleaned out in the first place! The current board is in their first year, with a coach they selected - there is absolutely no chance they would hook the coach so quickly.

Secondly, Potter was given plenty of support in year one, even if knifed last year. Did anyone miss the fact that we came 2nd last in 2013? I’d argue that the fans were easier on Potter than they have been on JT so far, mostly because people were just relieved to see the back of Sheens.

Results are apparently the only thing that really matters, but somehow 15th and 13th in two seasons is comfortably superior than last with 6 games to run. 9th or 16th, in my books, what is the difference?

He has missed the point, as happy points out, that the reason we need to focus on defence as a team is exactly because of how much Brooks and Moses are targeted. We haven’t the defensive support required to carry the number of missed tackles they make. Crawley even says it himself, that we can’t play like the Roosters without a roster like they have.

I’m all for JT letting Brooks and Moses attack however they please these last 6 rounds. I’d love to see it, see what they are capable of if not instructed or directed by the coach with an apparent defensive mindset.

Seriously, let’s make it happen. JT needs to come out this week and say “I am permitting Brooks and Moses to bypass my regular structures and play whatever they see these last rounds. Any success we might have will be solely a credit to them, and if that’s the case, I will be the first to admit I had the wrong game plan. But, any lack of success will be an indicator of why I put those structures there in the first place”.

Because there is this pervading idea in the media and amongst fans that Tigers are holding back their young stars - Gould says it every time he commentates us. Maybe they are right, so let’s test it out. But there is also the unfortunate potential that they are wrong, and that Brooks/Moses are not playing what is in front of them because they do not have the ability, or are still too immature.

The problem is that they are being told to play what’s in front of them and then they turn the ball over and put more pressure on themselves

When was the last time we had a completion rate that resembles the top sides

The Souths game was reported in another article

Everyone continues to point their fingers at our defence , when we aren’t completing sets and thus putting massive pressure on our defence week after week

@Snake:

The supporters of this club will not put up with this rubbish next season!

They have put up with the rubbish for 13 out of 16 years, what’s going to change?

@happy tiger:

The problem is that they are being told to play what’s in front of them and then they turn the ball over and put more pressure on themselves

When was the last time we had a completion rate that resembles the top sides

The Souths game was reported in another article

Everyone continues to point their fingers at our defence , when we aren’t completing sets and thus putting massive pressure on our defence week after week

I agree.

NRL preview this week pointed it out too, as you noted over in that thread:

You have to go back seven weeks, to Round 14, for the last time the Wests Tigers finished a game with a completion rate of more than 80%. Their inability to keep the ball in possession is putting enormous pressure on their defence and it is starting to show.

I think one of the biggest points to come out of that article is JT isn’t coaching to his roster. Like our halves need to start playing what’s in front of them, Taylor needs to start coaching what’s in front of him, because what he’s doing clearly isn’t working.

Posted using RoarFEED Android 1.2.4

@jirskyr:

@happy tiger:

The problem is that they are being told to play what’s in front of them and then they turn the ball over and put more pressure on themselves

When was the last time we had a completion rate that resembles the top sides

The Souths game was reported in another article

Everyone continues to point their fingers at our defence , when we aren’t completing sets and thus putting massive pressure on our defence week after week

I agree.

NRL preview this week pointed it out too, as you noted over in that thread:

You have to go back seven weeks, to Round 14, for the last time the Wests Tigers finished a game with a completion rate of more than 80%. Their inability to keep the ball in possession is putting enormous pressure on their defence and it is starting to show.

Don’t worry Jirskyr , we will be told we are stupid for these comments shortly

It seems no matter what Taylor does , he is in strife

@jirskyr:

@happy tiger:

The problem is that they are being told to play what’s in front of them and then they turn the ball over and put more pressure on themselves

When was the last time we had a completion rate that resembles the top sides

The Souths game was reported in another article

Everyone continues to point their fingers at our defence , when we aren’t completing sets and thus putting massive pressure on our defence week after week

I agree.

NRL preview this week pointed it out too, as you noted over in that thread:

You have to go back seven weeks, to Round 14, for the last time the Wests Tigers finished a game with a completion rate of more than 80%. Their inability to keep the ball in possession is putting enormous pressure on their defence and it is starting to show.

That stat is incorrect. Our completion rate was 84% against Brisbane (26 of 31).

Recent Topics

Support our community by clicking here and joining our Forum Support Scheme