Wigan and Warrington find themselves in a self made crisis that really worries me. The last time I saw a club in a position that these two find themselves in, it took about 18 months and the very rich and keen owner of them walked away and left them to fend for themselves.
That was Richard Branson at the London Broncos.
See, Branson had the money and he had the enthusiasm. The problem was the people that made the day to day decisions at the club had no idea what they were doing.
There comes a point where pouring money into a venture that’s going no where becomes very, very old, and Branson unfortunately hit that point.
I see the same things in Wigan and Warrington. Two very good, very enthusiastic owners. Hell, these are two teams whos owners will pay what ever it takes to make these clubs successful.
The problem is, the people that these owners have entrusted with their money are completely hopeless. They have proven over many years they are no capable of making even half decent decisions.
Look at Warrington.
They have had Andrew Johns, Allan Langer, Matt King, Michael Monaghan, Adrian Morley, Paul Rauhihi…..these are not just average players. You add these players to any club and they should be better for it.
However, the playing staff doesnt matter when the problems run so deep.
Look at the coaches Warrington have had, it reads like a disaster novel.
I have nothing against Jimmy Lowes, in fact he is one of my favorite English players of the last ten years. As a player he was a really hard worker, he was tough, he worked hard in defense, he is the best hooker England have produced in the last 15 years.
However, someone at Warrington made the decision to give him his first start as a top level coach WAY to early.
There is no doubt Lowes has all the playing experience you could want. But you don’t switch to being a top grade coach!
I still think Lowes would be a great defensive or forwards coach. I’m sure he could help the hooker at any club become a better player. In time, he might still make it and be a top class English coach, but he needs experience and throwing him into the Warrington situation was never going to work.
I don’t blame Lowes either. If someone asked me to coach a Super League clubs I’d say yes too. But the decision to offer him the job lies solely at the feet of those running the Warrington club.
Warringtons problems today are the same as they have been for nearly ten years. Top class players getting pushed out of the way by perennial under performers and players who’s egos far outweigh their Rugby League experience or skill.
Watching Michael Monaghan call for the ball on the short side with a hard running Anderson as the short option and Matt King as the win option, only to see the call over turned so Lee Briers can run ten meters across field and throw a dud pass, its a disgrace.
They need a personnel clean out at Warrington. Anyone that’s been there longer than 3 years should be shown the door.
Now having said that, it all starts and ends with out good your management is, and the pathetic decision to call in another loser in Tony Smith to over see this disaster paid instant dividends (Note: Sarcasm).
Smith was so good at Leeds that he left and a part football coach from New Zealand did an even better job withy them!
And I don’t need to remind anyone about the World Cup disaster with England.
So who’s bright idea was it to get Smith in to fix all the problems?
Then we have Wigan, a very similar situation there.
First of all, what happened to Wigans junior development program? They have the worst juniors coming through of ANY Super League club.
Their player recruitment is also a disaster. Can someone tell me why Wigan chased so hard and paid a massive, long term contract to Amos Roberts, a winger, when they are desperate for say a halfback, standoff, fullback, centers, second rowers, props and a lock forward?
Then you have the coach.
I think Brian Noble is a good bloke. He loves the game, he is a bit old school, I could talk to him about Rugby League forever.
The bloke can’t coach though.
In fact look at the last few Wigan coaches and none of them can coach, they are all duds.
To their credit, Wigan do turn over their playing staff, but they are replacing crap players with their even worse juniors.
At this stage I would bank on Wakefield producing a better player than Wigan…..that says it all.
So you have two well funded clubs, run by terrible management, both with coaches in over their heads and there is no signs its going to get better.
If I had the ear or both club owners I’d say this.
Get rid of the people making decisions on your behalf. Go to Australia, you’ll pick up a couple of very good club CEO’s there who know how to rebuild a club (Note: Not that donkey Shane Richardson!). Once you have done that, let them make all the decisions on your behalf. Some you will question, some will scare you, but these people know how to run clubs.
Tell them to buy you the best up and coming Aussie coaches they can find.
Then tell them to clear out anyone thats been around your clubs for too long.
Both Wigan and Warrington need to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up. I just hope it happens in time because as I said, pissing away money on a club going no where gets very old, very quickly.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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