You Can’t Be Board Members And Best Mates

If you are wondering why the NRL took until Wednesday to ban Brett Stewart for the first five rounds of the competition, just look at the Manly Sea Eagles board.

The NRL gave the Sea Eagles every opportunity to do they right thing. They allowed them time to meet, twice, they even contacted Manly and and said “We know you’ll do the right thing” and hoped the message would sink in.

It didn’t, Manly said they were happy to allow Brett Stewart to play, and so the NRL stepped in, banned him and finned the Sea Eagles $100,000.

We’ve seen this all before of course. Football clubs boards actually supporting players who are either alleged of commiting a crime right through to addmitting they have done something stupid.

Penrith’s commitment to Craig Gower for so many years comes to mind. When a guy gets drunk in Kings Cross, abuses people in a night club, bites a guy on the neck and then runs for his life…..only to have the club come out and say “We support him 100%” you know there is something wrong.

Now, we all know the players are to blame, but the people running clubs, from the coaching staff right up to the owners, all have to take some responsibility too.

Its all well and good for everyone to get on like best mates, but the fact is when it comes time to make tough decisions this should all be thrown out the window.

Some clubs just don’t understand this.

The football club board member who is nice and friendly with you when you are playing good football should be your worst nightmare when you stuff up. You should have the fear of God in you when you are summoned to a football club board meeting.

Instead, its like meeting up with the boys again, and that’s not the way to run anything!

The line between players and officials has blurred so much that everyone is now just “one of the boys” and that ends in clubs making bad decisions.

So instead of the Sea Eagles board thinking of how their reputation had been shattered by two of their own players last week, how their run into the season kick off has been ruined, how two players they have invested heavily in have let them down and thinking about what was needed to salvage the situation and show the public they will get this sorted, the board instead went into damage control….for the players!

When you look at the best run clubs in the game today, yeah, they do have good communication with their players, but when the time comes they will discipline or even sack players who have stuffed up.

The worse clubs all make decisions based on mates. Board members bring in friends to run parts of the club, certain players are kept because the coach gets on well with them, that sort of thing.

The sooner club board realize they are not part of the players group, that the players are not their friends but just employees, the better.

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