Reboot to placate Balmain and Wests factions

 Wests Tigers will work with ARLC boss Dave Smith in overhauling the corporate structure of the club to ensure a more harmonious relationship between the merged entities.
Nanjing Night Net

The Balmain and Western Suburbs factions have been in an uneasy alliance since they merged into Wests Tigers in 1999, with boardroom bickering a constant throughout their short history.

However, both parties have made a concerted effort to work more co-operatively and resolved at a board meeting last week to review the corporate structure of the club. The NRL has been asked to become heavily involved in the process to ensure the best possible outcome for all parties and align the club’s strategic plan closely with that of the ARLC.

Chief executive Stephen Humphreys resigned on Friday night in the belief it would help the parties move forward together. Humphreys, Wests Tigers chairman Mike Bailey and deputy chairman Nick Di Girolamo sat down with Fairfax Media on Saturday in a show of unity.

Humphreys, who will remain at the club for the next two months, delivered the key goal: ”To be strongly branded and recognised as Wests Tigers. We all come from somewhere, but … over the next five years we need to be about Wests Tigers.”

The Tigers face numerous challenges on and off the field. They are in last position after being trounced 54-10 by South Sydney on Friday night, face a crippling injury toll and have reached a delicate point in negotiations to extend the contract of benched superstar Benji Marshall. But perhaps the biggest obstacle to long-term success is ensuring Balmain and Western Suburbs come together in more than name only.

”The reason we are sitting here and talking today is because we want this to work and work well,” said Bailey, the Magpies representative. ”We can look back through history and point fingers sometimes at individuals, but we’re not intending to do that. We’re trying to move on together and we want to do it positively.”

To that end, Smith has been consulted about the organisational restructure and will provide counsel along with ARLC chairman John Grant. ”Mike and I have realised we face significant challenges in relation to our current structure and it’s a significant step in our journey for the two of us to have a chat to John Grant and Dave Smith,” said Balmain representative Di Girolamo. ”We need a structure which provides best corporate governance practices and long-term sustainability.”

While the situation is politically sensitive and the trio were reluctant to go into details, it’s understood the system of rotating chairmen – a member of each faction chairs the joint-venture club for 12 months at a time – is likely to be scrapped. All parties agree that training facilities at Concord Oval are becoming outdated and that a strategy to establish a centre of excellence must be put in place. The officials will also work closely with the ARLC on stadia strategy as the game consolidates towards a handful of major venues.

There was also unanimous support for new coach Mick Potter, who has overseen a squad riddled with injuries in his first year in charge.

”He is doing a fine job and we have absolutely no criticism or questions of what he is doing,” Bailey said. ”We’re right behind him and that is myself, Nick and Stephen. We’ll give him all the support we need for things to come together.”

Humphreys said he would work diligently on retention and recruitment before his departure. The former Balmain first-grader said he was confident of retaining Marshall and securing young playmakers Luke Brooks, Bayley Sironen and Mitchell Moses. ”Despite what some critics may say, our board is doing an excellent job in confronting what are some very difficult issues,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation