Hi all. We right to go? What about you hacks from the Herald? Righto ???
Thanks for coming to my first media conference as interim coach of the Wests Tigers.
Before I take questions I want to walk you through some of the exciting changes we’re making around here. How we’re going to play the hottest brand of footy this game has ever seen and make the finals and win the comp and re-sign the Big Four – or is it Big Two? – and then I will forever be considered a supercoach alongside the likes of Gibson, Bennett, Ryan and Langmack.
First, we’re going to overhaul the coaching staff. Andrew Johns is my new attack coach and president of the social club. Noel Kelly will be working on our defence and headbutts. Tommy Raudonikis will be the mind coach.
I’ve had a long look at the salary cap and, frankly, I’ve got no idea what I’m looking at. I always thought a third party was kicking on at Woodsy’s place when the lockout laws kicked in.
And can someone tell me where I find the second set of books? Because I’ll tell you what this club is missing: mullets. So I’m enticing Kerry Hemsley and Kevin Hardwick out of retirement. I’m also told Olsen Filipaina still works the same garbage run Balmain helped him get when he first moved to Australia. Olsen, if you’re reading this, we need you.
I’m going to bring back schooners at the pub after Tuesday and Thursday night training, and The Wall, and mascara under the eyes for night matches and I’m ordering Kevin Naiqama to immediately get a haircut.
But before all of that, before we even lace up a boot – we’re going to take a moment to remember who we represent because somewhere along the line that has been forgotten.
This distrust between Balmain and Western Suburbs needs to end. It’s torn this club apart for too long. Whether we like each other or not, we need to make it work otherwise they may as well just pull the joint down and give up.
We are the marriage of two foundation clubs from 1908, with a rich history on both sides of the family. Talk to some of the true legends from either club – and there are dozens of them – and they’ll tell you they’ve been left out in the cold and that is just crazy talk. Why you would turn your back on your proud history?
Each time we walk onto the field, we are representing those former players, not the next dollar we are going to wring out of the club in our next contract. Don’t ask my players again about their future. They will be saying “no comment”.
Actually, they’re all on indefinite media bans. They’re going to keep their mouths shut, put their heads down, play footy, hold onto the ball, find touch, find the in-goal, tackle a blade of grass if it’s in front of them. It’s the only way out of this.
Hang on. What’s that? Oh. Oh I see. Different Andrew Webster ???
Good luck with all that, Tigers … go Dragons!
Webster a natural
In all seriousness, the real Andrew Webster – who has been rushed in following the shock termination of Jason Taylor – should be considered the front-runner for the job ahead of Ivan Cleary, Todd Payten and Des Hasler.
The Wests Tigers haven’t had a long-term strategy for years but if they did they would’ve identified Webster long ago as the natural successor to Tim Sheens. Parramatta and the Warriors have dragged him away in the last few years and many people tell you he’s a good man, good coach and well liked by many of the Tigers players.
So how did it all come to this so soon into the season? Whether you like him or not, whether you think he can coach or think he’s an impostor, Taylor deserved better.
They can deny it all they want but the club is still divided down the old Wests and Tigers fault line. It’s been claimed Wests directors flexed their muscles to get rid of Taylor after two weeks of horrific results.
What surprised many about the coach’s axing is that chairperson Marina Go was a known Taylor supporter, and also close with his wife Lana, often seen together at various league functions in the past couple of years.
What’s becoming increasingly obvious is that the club’s chances of retaining Aaron Woods, James Tedesco, Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks are drifting. The Broncos are rumoured to be sniffing around their halves. So, too, the Bulldogs.
Cordner the captain?
He’s injured, not playing and not feeling the love, but Jarryd Hayne remains firmly in the mix for NSW selection for Origin I – at centre, not fullback.
The Plane is sidelined with syndesmosis – that fancy word for “ankle sprain” – but we’re told he’s being strongly considered alongside incumbent Michael Jennings. Raiders freight train BJ Leilua has some work to do after missing an off-season Blues camp.
Say what you want about Hayne’s form and attitude at the Titans, but he’s a proven match-winner in the sky blue.
It’s a neck and neck battle for the NSW captaincy between the Woods and Roosters back-rower Boyd Cordner because of Paul Gallen’s retirement from representative football.
Cordner is tipped to get the nod, although we’re a long way off game one at Suncorp Stadium on May 31.
The walk of life
Former Manly fullback Shannon Nevin was so affected by the suicide of an old school friend that he decided to set up a community event called Walk ‘n’ Talk – and it’s going gangbusters.
It’s not a charity or fundraiser. The vision is simply to allow people to come together and walk along and talk about their issues in a non-judgmental environment.
“I have had people attend my walks who have attempted suicide or who have lost loved ones to suicide,” Nevin said. “These people love the support and love they receive at these events and some have openly told me that these walks give them the strength to live on.”
Walk ‘n’ Talk events occur every two months so people are able to connect more regularly than the conventional annual awareness events.
Manly is about to celebrate its fourth walk on March 26. Others are happening around the state and also on the Gold Coast. You can find out where and when by going to the Walk ‘n’ Talk Facebook page. Q and A
We speak to our beloved former Herald colleague and cycling expert Rupert Guinness as he rides solo and unsupported from Fremantle to Sydney in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, which started last Saturday.
I’m having a coffee at a roadhouse in Balladonia. We’re 970 kilometres into a 5500 kilometre [ride]. I lost my phone while on the road. I turned around and went up and down the course for 10 or 15 kilometres. I need the phone because not only does it have my contacts but my maps for the race downloaded on it. So I had to stop at a servo and get an old paper map.
You’re using a paper map to cycle across the country? That will do me.
They still work! You can’t get lost in the Nullarbor. Luckily, someone found my phone so I’ll get it back at some stage.
How are the legs?
I’m going to find out shortly. Yesterday, they were sore. And my right ankle has blown up.
What about your arse?
Mate, I’ve tried to change position but my arse is … sore. The worrying thing is that it’s going to get worse. You feel parts starting to go already. My fingers are numb, my feet are numb. When you are on the road it’s pedal stroke by pedal stroke.
Remind me again why you are doing this?
First up, there’s the story of the Overlanders, who in the early 1900s did this by themselves and discovered the roads we are riding on now. I wanted to experience that for a book I’m writing. I’m also riding in support of “Helping Rhinos”, the UK organisation that is working to stop the poaching and extinction of rhinos. But it’s also just the challenge of being part of something unique. It’s going to strip me bare and I want to experience that. I want to see how far I can go – and I know already that I’ll find out. The emotions come and go.
You’ll smash it, mate. You’ve done two Sydney to Hobart yacht races, yes?
There are similarities in your approach. I’m not worried about time and position. I just want to finish it. But you still keep a race mentality.
Are you listening to anything along the way? I know you’re a big fan of deep diva house music.
I don’t listen to music. I just listen to the rhythm of the bike, the wildlife. I saw a dingo yesterday. It ran across the road in front of me. I looked behind to make sure it wasn’t after me because I had no sprint in me. I had a crash, too. Down the side of the road into an embankment. Lost phone, crash, bad ankle. Things are on the up!
You can follow Rupert through his Facebook page.
Sweating it out: Rupert Guinness participating in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race. Photo: Gene KehoeThe week
“Thank you for this, I appreciate my fans. My wife and my girlfriend ??? I mean my wife, sorry.” – Free State Stars striker Mohammed Anas in his post-match interview after being named man-of-the-match.
You should never talk through your kick, let alone write through it, but let’s take this opportunity to applaud the ride of jockey Ben Melham on She Will Reign in the Golden Slipper. He ignored the riding instructions of trainer Gary Portelli and won. “I would’ve been strung up by the b—s if I got it wrong!” Melham said.
George Burgess executed a perfectly timed elbow to the head of Newcastle Knights forward Mitch Barnett. Then he ripped out a spinning back fist that missed by centimetres. Unfortunately, it was on the footy field and not in an octagon ring. Two matches, match review committee? Really?
It’s a big weekend for ??? Greater Western Sydney, who are $4.50 favourites to win the AFL premiership. Their season starts on the road against Adelaide on Sunday.
It’s an even bigger weekend for ??? Virat Kohli, who could pop an eyeball in excitement and anger and whatever else is clunking around that little head of his in the fourth Test against Australia, which starts on Saturday.
You can follow Andrew Webster on Facebook.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.