Coaches And Administrators

They run the game we see on the field, and they run the game we see off the field. Don’t let that fool you though, sometimes they have no idea what they are talking about!

You have to have something wrong with you to be a Rugby League coach. This results in some great quotes from the men who go bald or grey within their first three years of their first coaching appointment.

“Well Kevin what did you say to the players at half time to get them to play like that?”
“Should I leave out the swearing ?”
“ERRR… yes ”
“Well I said “Well lads …………………………………………………………………… (Long Pause)”
 Kevin Ashcroft on local radio (Radio Lancashire /GMR?) while he was in charge at Leigh and after Leigh had been hammered in the 1st half but came back strongly in the 2nd half to win.

“A draw is like watching your mother in law drive off a cliff in your new car………..mixed feelings” Brian Smith comments on a Parramatta draw with the Bulldogs during the 2001 season.

“It’s an ambush,” Anderson declared.” I read a letter from David Waite who said he was not coming down for the post-Origin beat-up after what happened last year. I’ve got to say it doesn’t do anything for international rugby league.” The then New Zealand Rugby League coach Daniel Anderson showing that both New Zealand and Great Britain refuse to play Australia when we are at our best.

“Back me or sack me” Chris Anderson after the Sharks loss to the Raiders in 2003. Anderson was sacked shortly after.

“Dennis Moran is world class.” London Broncos coach Tony Rea in 2004.

“We were expecting George Foreman and got George Formby” Quote by Brian Noble after St Helen’s sent an very under strength team to Odsal in 2004.

“We just gave away too many stupid penalties.”
“What do you put that down to?”
“Stupidity…” John Lang in 2004.

“Worrying is alot like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but gets you no where.” Wayne Bennett

“It was important to get off to a good start compared to last year?”
“Yes – we took a vote before the game and we decided unanimously to go for a win.” Brian Smiths reply to a reporter after the Eels round one win over the West Tigers in 2005.

“In the modern game, there’s no difference between a stand off and a scrum half.” Frank Endacott’s response to a question I put to him at a Widnes Fans Forum in January 2005.

“I know I’m doing my job and doing it well.” Frank Endacott made this statement following heavy criticism from Widnes Fans. In 2005 the Widnes Vikings were relegated and Endacott lefts the club a year early to head back to New Zealand.

“You only get nightmares if you sleep,” Wayne Bennett when asked if the unpredictability of the 2005 season gave him nightmares.

“Now you get greedy, don’t you? Once you’ve pulled one Nolan sister, you want to pull them all.” Hull coach John Kear gets excited about his chances to lead Hull to a Cup/League double in 2005.

“We will be getting around to see all the fans over the next few days,and i would like to apologise now for the state we will be in” Tim Sheens after the 2005 NRL Grand Final victory by his Wests Tigers.

“After the 2003 problems with players pulling out of the Australian team and the Darren Smith episode where they picked a bloke playing in English club football, I thought representative football was losing credibility. It was losing ground. It means a lot to me to uphold the value of the green and gold jumper. Every time you devalue it, you diminish the 700 or so who have given their blood, sweat and injuries for the national colours.” Wayne Bennett gives his thoughts on the 2003 Kangaroo’s, International Rugby League and why he decided to come back as Australian coach.

“I’ll keep going until one of two things happen,” he said. “When I stop learning and when I stop enjoying it. Whichever one comes first, I’ll get out. They might come together. I don’t know.” Bennett again talking about when he would give coaching away.

“When Lote went to rugby union, certain league administrators said there were plenty of Lote Tuqiris that we’d soon find another. That was six years ago. If you see another just like him, please let me know.” Wayne Bennett after Lote Tuqiri re-signed with rugby union. It seems Benny has never heard of a guy called Greg Inglis.

“Brian Smith is rebuilding (in Newcastle) what you f *cked up there. How f*cked are you? What’s here (at Parramatta) was already in place.” Former Parramatta lower grade coach and now South Sydney head coach Jason Taylor to current Parramatta coach Michael Hagan after a blow up regarding the use of a field outside of Parramatta Stadium for a pre-game warm up.

“I didn’t think I would [offend] anybody – but if I did, I apologize, I’m sorry.” Wayne Bennett does something I have NEVER EVER seen ANY coach do in my whole life, he apologized! It was for not making a speech at a Broncos awards night when receiving an award.

“I do know that he’s one hell of a good player, up there among the best three halfbacks in the world,” Wigan coach Brian Noble after signing former Parramatta halfback Tim Smith, despite Smith having quit the game six weeks earlier due to Bipolar disorder. In a few years from now someone will read this and ask “Tim Who?”.

“I think we’re a pretty good team across the park. I think we’ve got a pretty decent pack of forwards, I’m really pleased with our halves and I like our outside backs. They’ve got some very good players in some positions, and I think we’ve got some very good players in all positions, so I’m quite happy with the team that we’ve got, and I think we can challenge them in all sorts of areas.” England’s 2008 World Cup coach Tony Smith being staggeringly ignorant and stupid at the same time. Australia have good players in SOME positions and England have good players in ALL positions? Someone get the drug testers in on this idiot!

“We [conceded] three tries that we don’t think should have been awarded,” England coach Tony Smith shows he really is England, whining after his teams capitulation against New Zealand in the 2008 World Cup.

“England’s players have copped a lot of criticism. I am starting to run out of excuses for them.” Ian Millward on England’s disastrous 2008 World Cup performances. You have to wonder why Millward thinks its his job to defend England players. It wouldn’t be because he wasn’t a coaching job in England would it?

“We had to name a team. They put a gun to your head so we named a team. Where I’m at with the team though is that we’re not really sure who’s going to play yet.”England coach Tony Smith, a man that has had 18 months to think about the best possible English side to name, throws a hissy fit because of World Cup rules stating you have to name your team 72 hours before a match. He has been shown to be way out of his depth.

“Poor execution and endeavour aside, this team had no definable direction to their play. I could not recognise one solitary tactic or purpose in their attacking raids. Never at any time did they look as though they even recognised potential weaknesses in the Knights’ defensive line let alone attempt to exploit them.” Phil Gould in the Sydney Morning herald commenting on the 2009 Penrith Panthers. In their must win round 26 game against Newcastle they were beaten 35-0. It seems Gould see’s coach deficiencies as well.

“I certainly felt today that I was outcoached too.” August 15th, 2010, and Matthew Elliott states the bleeding obvious! He could say that every weekend!

”Ninety eight per cent of them are local boys and I can tell you that there will be a lot more ice in the Australian dressing room than in ours,” Papua New Guinea coach Stanley Gene after his team lost 42-0 to Australia in the 2010 Four Nations. He is spot on too!

“They talk about Billy Slater but this guy is equally as good as him. I have been fortunate to coach a number of world class players in my time and he had shades of Jonathan Davies today. He was untouchable really.” North Wales coach Clive Griffiths after Tomkins scored 6 tries in Wigan’s 98-4 win over his Crusaders team. It would be embarrassing if Tomkins was just an average fullback that scored 6 tries against Griffiths team huh…..

“I don’t think I’m an idiot” Manly Sea Eagles coach puts forward an unconvincing argument after being fined for blaming referees for his team losing a game for the 50,000th time.

They run our game. Heaven help us!

“And over there I see a youngster who wore the no. 6 jersey, and I predict one day he will become an International and captain Australia in Test football.” The late ‘Jersey’ Flegg, who at the time was president of the NSWRL, was at the SCG to watch the game and afterwards he addressed the young footballers. The player he was talking about was a 16 year old from Newcastle called Clive Churchill.

“Two struggling clubs merging into one will simply create another struggling club…” Parramatta CEO Dennis Fitzgerald in 1999 talking about the merger between the Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies. The Tigers would go on to win the 2005 NRL Grand Final while Parramatta are still waiting.

“It (RLWC 2000) was still a successful and profitable competition, largely due to the high level of sponsorship and commercial deals that underpinned the event.” Sir Rodney Walker on an event which financially crippled the Rugby Football League for years.

“We went into it believing that all the costs were covered and that we were guaranteed a surplus. We have now found that some of the information we had been given was inaccurate or misleading. We are confident the losses will not be much more than £500,000.” April 2001 and Sir Rodney Walker still doesn’t know how financially devastating the 2000 World Cup has been on the game!

“He (Ian Millward) seems to take so much interest in Wigan that I’m surprised he has any time to coach St. Helens” Maurice Lindsay in September 2002. By the halfway point of the 2005 season, Millward was coaching Wigan.

“The vision has spread. Hopefully, we’ll be playing in Hong Kong’s 40,000 capacity stadium with 200 million watching on TV. There’s a whole heap of expats up there.”Sydney Bulldogs chief executive Bob Hagan on the plan to play a Melbourne Storm-Sydney Bulldogs game in Hong Kong.

“Trying to promote rugby league in Melbourne is like trying to promote beach volleyball in Iceland.” Parramatta CEO Dennis Fitzgerald gives his thoughts on what he claims is a lack of support for the game in Australia’s second largest city. Melbourne responded by beating the Eels that weekend 36-16 at Parramatta Stadium in front of a crowd of just 8243.

“It was a bit like that Mastercard commercial,” Holmes a Court said. “The cost of buying a football club: $1.5 million. “The opportunity to turn it around: priceless.”South Sydney owner Peter Holmes a Court talks about the cost and rewards of being a part owner of the Bunnies.

“Richie Mathers is a world class player” Titans football manager Scott Sattler must have been smoking something when he said this. Two weeks prior to this Mathers wasn’t even in the clubs top grade!

“I will say this to you: we are not in the position to sign any other high profile players for next season. Our cue is in the rack” Mick Leary of the Penrith Panthers changes his mind when confronted with the fact that no star players want to play for Penrith.

“The blazer brigade are those board members who are mostly elected because of years of service and, who are very well-meaning, but a long way off the pace when it comes to running a modern-day sport,” Moffett said. “League has outgrown that and the changed attitude towards governance – which is evident at the NRL – needs to permeate its way into the ARL and the NSWRL and QRL. Those people have got to look at themselves and say are they part of the problem or are they part of the solution? And if they’re not part of the solution they should think about stepping down.” Former NRL CEO David Moffett on the problems with Rugby League administration in Australia when asked to comment on the strategic plan he formulated at during his time running the NRL.

“There were lots of people having lots of meetings and they most likely still do,” Moffett said. “But all they ever do is just talk. The notion – not only of the plan itself – but the notion of a single sporting body collected dust … and it still collects dust. That was the most frustrating thing for me because it just stands out like the nose on your face what needs to be done. It does hold the sport back from its true potential because rugby league is a great game. All it needs is a great administration to go with it.” Moffetts frustration is shared by fans as well.

“Tell me which competition in the world is harder to win? There isn’t one. Is that enough reward for winning the grand final?” South Sydney co-owner Peter Holmes a Court on his belief the game needs more money brought into it to reflect its status.

“There is no doubt in my mind the biggest issue in the game right now is how to bring more money in. It should be there. We need to get more money to recognise the professionalism of the game, and we need to be able to get more money for the players because they are the stars of this show. They’re the most attractive feature in the game. These are legitimate sporting superstars we’re talking about. We need to keep showing that this is a competition that sponsors should be falling over themselves to be involved with. Rugby league should be the No.1 sport in this country and when we make that happen, there’ll be more money involved. It’s up to the players themselves to help the game achieve that. If they present themselves the right way, conduct themselves in the right manner and behave appropriately, more and more sponsors are going to come on board.” South Sydney co-owner Peter Holmes a Court again talking a great deal of sense on a number of fronts.

“The club has banned Tim from consuming alcohol until the end of the 2008 season.” Parramatta Eels CEO Denis Fitzgerald on an Alcohol ban placed on Tim Smith after a number of off field incidents. This quote is from December 2007.

“I am finding with some players, it is taking a while for the message to get through,” said Fitzgerald. “It is becoming very frustrating. Parramatta has got a reputation as a very professional club. But that is being tested. It takes years to build such a reputation yet takes only minutes for it to come crumbling down.” Parramatta Eels CEO Denis Fitzgerald again, this time in March 2008 after a number of Parramatta players, including Tim Smith, made drunken fools of himself. It turned out Smiths alcohol ban was lifted a week after it was imposed.

“Danny has been such a great servant to this club and to the game,” Burraston said. “If he wanted to stay we would be more than happy to have him but it may be that he wants to finish his career in England, where the competition is not as intense.” Newcastle Knights CEO Steve Burraston in regards to Danny Buderus being told he can cut short his contract if he likes. He also put Super League in its place.

“In 2002 we started the season very poorly and went on to win the premiership. It’s early days yet and there will be no panic.” Penrith Panthers CEO after the Panthers terrible first round performance in 2008. You wanna know what the sign is that your clubs managment is terrible? They dont realise you won the Premiership in 2003….not 2002!

“If he comes running back to the game, asking if we will take him back, you know what we’re going to do? We’ll take him back. As we have proved. Wendell Sailor went to rugby, criticised our game while he was playing it, then when rugby didn’t want him because he was a drug taker, we took him back. Make a hero out of him. Jamie Lyon went to England, we gave him the greatest reward we can by letting him play for his country when he walked out on a contract.” Former ARL general manager and the man many suggest has been one of the best administrators in the games history, John Quayle, on how Rugby League should handle players that walk out on contracts.

“Sooner or later, we have to stand up and ask if we’re going to allow individuals to dictate to the overall interests of the game. Or set the policy that protects us. This player [Williams] has promised the world to his club and reneged on it. If that’s the character of the guy I’d say, ‘Well done, young man. That’s what your character shows: you’re not a very genuine person. You didn’t have the decency to tell your fans, your club and your teammates.’ Why worry about him, in my view? Our game should not be built around those players.” Quayle again. You get the feeling he has the right attitude towards leadership to move the game forward.

“I owe everything to rugby league. It gave my grandfather an opportunity after the second world war, it gave my father a career and our family an existence on the Gold Coast that we would never have had if it wasn’t for rugby league. The only reason that my dad moved from Tamworth and my mum from Werris Creek to the Gold Coast was because that’s where he played his football. It’s given me an opportunity to get a degree and it’s given my children a life they would never have expected. So I will dedicate my life to the game for no other reason than the game has been good to me.” Gold Coast Titans CEO Michael Searle on his work to form an independent commission to run the game in Australia. If only more people wanted to give back to the game as much as he does.

“I think what (the off-field scandals) did was solidify a lot of fans who said, ‘You know, this is part of my fabric … I did grow up in a rugby league suburb, town or city, I love the game’. I had a discussion with Wayne Bennett the other day. He said, ‘I always knew how much Queenslanders love their league, but I never realised the passion down here, they really love it in Sydney'” Searle again giving an insight into Wayne Bennetts views on Rugby League in Sydney.

“I don’t think the Central Coast has the population or the business population to support a side. The demographics would support that. A Central Coast team would be looking to pinch players north and south so that would be detrimental to us and Manly. A second Brisbane side is a possibility. It has legs but maybe Perth is a better option.” Newcastle Knights CEO Steve Burraston when asked whether the Centrol Coast should be added to the NRL competition. His views are something I have been saying on this web site for years.

”Good on them, let them waste their money out there. AFL is a low game – almost as bad as rugby.” Parramatta Eels CEO Paul Osborne on the AFL’s much publicized push into Western Sydney.

“It is my opinion and the QRL’s opinion that we should support the under-16s indigenous NSW-versus-Queensland game. Aside from that, players of all backgrounds should strive to represent NSW, Queensland, Australia or their overseas country. That is our position.” Moronic QRL Dinosaur Ross Livermore takes a swipe at the NRL All Star game. The game was a sellout, raised millions of dollars for charity and was a huge TV ratings success. Of course, the QRL had nothing at all to do with the game, so they think it was a failure.

“Passion is a great distorter of logic” A great quote from NRL CEO David Gallop.

“If there is a better rugby league stadium, can someone please point it out to me,” St Helens Chairman Eamonn McManus boasting that St Helens new stadium, with seating for just 11,000 fans and standing room for a further 7,000, is the best stadium in all of Rugby League. I have some bad news for you Eamonn…

“The boss of Coke doesn’t drink Pepsi and I don’t watch AFL” NRL CEO David Gallop when asked if he watches AFL.

The Super League War
The Super League war produced stupidity on a mass scale. Some of the things said during the Super League war just seem like they were made up. I mean, these people really said these things!

“I guarantee you… Super League will not hurt rugby league…. it will only make the game stronger “ Terry Lamb on the Super League television advertising propaganda.

“The vision is about taking the game to the rest of the world. It’s about giving the patrons and the fans a better deal than what they’ve had in the past.” John Ribot, the then Australian Super League CEO on The Footy Show during a panel discussion.

“What a load of crap! It’s all about pay television, John! It’s all about lining people’s pockets with money and for you to sit here and say anything different is just an absolute farce!” Ray Hadleys famous reply to Ribot. Hadley tore into Ribot and said a lot of things fans wanted to say.

“I made a really fatal mistake. I let my emotions rule my head. I was really emotional about it and I haven’t seen it since. I’m quite embarrassed by how I conducted myself. The worst part was after the show, people came up and slapped me on the back and said “Oh, that was fantastic” and you go home and you think you’ve done a good job and your wife looks at you and says, “Are you a complete idiot?” These day, Hadley regrets his performance on the Footy Show as you can see from the above quote. Still, it was probably one of his defining moments as a sports broadcaster.

“I played the game for 16 years and what have I got out of it? Nothing.” Australian captain, Premiership winner, international legend Mal Meninga in 1995.

“The official line from our club officials was that the players would make up their minds which organisation – ARL or Super League – to join,” Harragon said. “But that was not the case and it became more and more obvious as it went on. They very much wanted to go the News Ltd way and get the hand-outs. I was the only bloke at the Knights who had spoken to News Ltd and the ARL. I walked out of Ken Cowley’s office after speaking to him and Lachlan Murdoch and I was all News Ltd. I was gone. I went over to Phillip Street to tell them and when I got out of the lift, it was a bunker. There were people and typewriters everywhere. I suddenly saw the sense of it all and realised this vision thing was all airy-fairy, so I signed.” Paul Harrigon gives his personal account of the front lines of the battle for the game in Australia.

“The money we spend on lawyers could fund the development of the game for a year.” Former ARL Chairman Ken Arthurson lamenting the cost of the Super League war.

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