*<big>Former Wests Tigers coach says Robbie Farah’s forced exit a result of mismanagement at the club</big>
August 26, 2015 10:00pm
Paul CrawleyThe Daily Telegraph
FORMER Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter has accused the club of playing “Fantasy League with other people’s money” which has led to the bombshell split with captain Robbie Farah.
The Tigers face being left paying a large portion of Farah’s $1 million-a-season salary over the final two years of his contract despite the fact the star hooker will be playing for another club.
And while backing the Tigers’ decision to hand power to new coach Jason Taylor, Potter revealed he warned the club against signing Farah to a four-year deal back in 2013 but claimed his concerns were “dismissed”.
The hugely inflated and back-ended four-year Farah deal was struck in the early stages of Potter’s troubled two-year term at the Tigers.
Under the Tigers’ dysfunctional former management, Potter said he had so little control over playing personnel that he was even questioned about signing powerhouse forward Martin Taupau.
Potter made pleas to only offer Farah a two-year deal but, as head coach, said he didn’t have control over the decision.
“No I didn’t,” Potter revealed. “My input was dismissed.
“I thought that was the right thing to do for Robbie and the club. And if he was still going well at the end of the two years, you could have kept him on.
“Age becomes no barrier. But you don’t sign a 30-year-old for four years, I don’t think.”
Asked who made the decision, Potter said: “The then board and the CEO (Grant Mayer) at the time.
“I wasn’t in control of the tenure of most of the players.”
The struggling Tigers will now be left to carry the can for the final two years of what is believed to be a $1 million-a-season contract, if Farah does leave for another NRL club and doesn’t get the same cash.
Asked if he felt disappointed by the damage coaching the Tigers did to his reputation, Potter said: “I think I finished up with a group of people who were very divisive.
“Not all, there were some very lovely people at Wests Tigers. But it was an organisation that had so many issues and needed so many changes.
“I have never been at a club like that but it was out of my control. I wasn’t able to assemble my own squad as such apart from a couple of players.
“Even with Marty Taupau, I got questioned if he was the right player for our club. They are heading in the right direction now but it is going to take a little while.
“(Jason Taylor this week) has got what a head coach should have. The power and autonomy of his roster and his staff.
“Not people who would lobby the board to get their players on the books with little or no consultation with the coach. And that is what happened. It is absolutely absurd.
“Call it naivety, I don’t know what you call it. They were trying to play ‘Fantasy League’ with real players but other people’s money instead of looking at it as a business.”
Asked if he had his time over would he still have accepted the Tigers’ coaching job, Potter said: “Well, no. Probably not.
“But it was the only gig going. They were talking about the board change for 12 months.
“If that had have happened (early in his final year) I think things could have been slightly different. “I am not saying all the problems would have been solved but they would be a year ahead of where they are now.”
<big>GUYS - PLEASE INCLUDE TITLE, AND SOURCE CREDITS TO ARTICLES. 117</big>