A silvertail post mortem

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Journey Man
Quotes in today’s papers are the end of it for me. I just cannot countenance the opinion that our head coach could gloss over the events of the last three months with a blithe “we have over-achieved this season�.

In contrast, in my depressed state after yesterday’s meek capitulation I spent most of last night in a listless sleep, running through my mind a bold manifesto of a holistic approach to player and club management that, if implemented, would put us at the cutting edge of the matter for the NRL.

However, in the cold light of dawn a certain realism took over. What point is there in creating such a body of work? Sure it would make for some vivid and entertaining discussion on the silvertails web-site, but all it would really do would lead to a growing two-fold frustration.

1. The answers to the problems that are betrayed by our on-field performance are not particularly rocket science.
2. However, rocket science or not, at times it seems as though the club prefers a culture of vague, wishy washy sentiment rather than ruthless analysis and action designed to weed out serial offenders in mediocrity.

So I’ll spare us all the intellectual wankery that such a manifesto would provide.

However, can I PLEASE implore those in the club that read this to ensure that the process of review of the ashes of season 2005 are somewhat more rigorous than the public pronouncements of coach and captain at yesterday’s post-flogging press conference?

There is far too much of the ugly seen since early June 2005 for us to rest easily over the off-season, content in the knowledge that we fell over the line into this year’s finals. On field performances over that period suggest that we are in as dire a strait as we have ever been since the glory days on the mid-1990s.

That hard questions must be asked, and bold plans of action put in place.


• Is the club really satisfied with a 12 week stretch of games where we were the worst performed in the NRL and included the greatest defeat in club history?

• In hindsight, could the whole Monasgate saga have been better handled and are we happy to retain the status quo which is essentially a compromise foisted upon us by a well-intentioned, but wrong, owner? (If not, what substantive action will be taken)

• Were the KPIs that were set at the beginning of the season ever genuinely assessed and substantive action taken if players were not meeting them? (The best is example of this is the question of why Jason King was persisted with week after week even when everyone could see he was generally only good for 10 minutes play and a handful of hit-ups)?

• Are we comfortable with the influence that some high profile and senior players have had on our younger team members? (My mail is that several have been an exceedingly bad influence.)

• Is the club confident that it has pro-active and best management practices in place in the vital off-field areas of customer satisfaction, marketing and media management?

Some brief suggestions:

The action on the field each week is only the briefest of glimpses as to what really goes on in a club. It is a couple of hours in the spotlight, but the REAL hard work of success is achieved in those other 166 hours of the week (yes – even down to the minute detail of players’ sleeping habits).

In any venture, but particularly in one of high athletic endeavor, human resource management is the most vital factor in success.

With this in mind, it stands to reason that there is a need for a holistic approach to human resource management. I hope this is the case with Manly, but our parlous state of the past three months does make one wonder.

Here’s what I’d like to see:

• The CEO given carte blanche authority to fire and hire whoever he needs to get the job done adequately (within the appropriate budget). It seems to me that the Manly factionalism (or worse, a Machiavellian process of rumour and innuendo) keeps people in places where they are hopelessly inept and/or unqualified. If that’s the case, these people need to be removed and replaced with people that CAN do the job. (Point in question – note the marketing success of Warrington surrounding the arrival of Andrew Johns or the Season 2006 season tickets brochures available at Parramatta Stadium yesterday!)

• A thorough review of club culture with appropriate professionals, focusing on weeding out any areas of cronyism, intrigue and commitment to self over club. It should also be ensured that the club is FULLY committed to doing whatever it takes to be successful (and to foster an expectation of success) even if that means hard decisions need to be made. (A good recent example of this was the decision to not offer Chad Randall a contract despite sentiment and family connections that may have suggested otherwise.)

• An off-season training regime put in place that focuses on the holistic development of our players. We all know they need to get fit and learn how to run lines and tackle. However, perhaps more importantly, we need to ensure that they are fully rounded individuals. Therefore just as much, if not more input, needs to be given to their emotional, mental and spiritual person. (A player that has harmony off the field is far more likely to perform than a player that is in free fall). I know of several excellent training courses that could serve to transform the outlook and demeanor of our playing group and would reap immediate on-field results.

• The establishment of a core group of senior players that have an established pedigree and track record as players of mental toughness and discipline. Players that have achieved on the field through a dedicated and sacrificial attitude off the field. Immediately this group would include Steve Menzies and Ben Kennedy. Matt Orford and Steven Bell are two other obvious contenders as well as Brent Kite. I’m sure there are others that the club would know of from their dealings with the group. This core senior group should meet weekly with management to specifically discuss the culture of the club and pro-active ways to deal with any problems that arise. They should be given the mantle of “leader� and each assigned a group of younger players that become their responsibility to be mentored into excellence, both on AND OFF the field.

Rome was not built in a day and neither is a football club rescued from the ashes. However, let’s hope that a thorough and extensive post mortem of season 2005 results in substantive ways forward, with the club committing itself to be best-practice in every area of operation, and particularly intolerant of any mediocrity or compromise that will jeopardise the process.


Agee with your comments Mata.

I don't know how they can class this year as overachieving just because we made the 8. The fact is we didn't deserve to be there.

How anyone in the club could be satisfied with our last 10 weeks perfomance in beyond me. It was absolute crap with the exception of the Broncos and Canberra games. After yesterdays perfomance Dessie should have come out and said that our first half was a disgrace.

It was only due to a couple of early wins in the season that we managed to hang on the 8th position from a number of fast finishing teams.

Teams that in fact we couldn't beat such as Souths, Newcastle, Penrith, Bulldogs.

Having been to watch many of the games this year I am of the opinion that we have one of the weakest playing rosters in the league. Unless the player personell is built up dramatically in the offseason the same problems will still be there next year - unless we can manage to get rid of the players responsible and replace them with better ones.

Chip and Chase

True Supporter
Staff member
Premium Member
Tipping Member
"• An off-season training regime put in place that focuses on the holistic development of our players. We all know they need to get fit and learn how to run lines and tackle. However, perhaps more importantly, we need to ensure that they are fully rounded individuals. Therefore just as much, if not more input, needs to be given to their emotional, mental and spiritual person. (A player that has harmony off the field is far more likely to perform than a player that is in free fall). I know of several excellent training courses that could serve to transform the outlook and demeanor of our playing group and would reap immediate on-field results."

I'd rather we just sign Anthony Robbins to replace King. He's a big unit and very enthusiastic, could go well if he develops a one handed offload.

The Wheel

Premium Member
Very Matabele - it is a very realistic summary of our season with some thoughful suggestions. It will be an interesting off season for sure.


First Grader
Many good suggestions there Mata.

"we have over-achieved this season�. Is that an ass-covering statement or what.

What a Joke!


Journey Man
We did 'over achieve' in the sense that we made the finals.

However, this time last year everyone wanted to talk about "our strong finish to the season."

Fact is - the latter part of this season was nearly worse than the start to last year - with less of an injury toll.

For mine that is a HUGE concern and there's no point in burying our heads in the sand and pretending it isn't there.


Journey Man
Not by most independant observers. Quite a few tipped us for the spoon.

(We were only 4 losses away from that byt the way)


Reserve Grader
Next time at work when i complete a Project early , If the Boss Comes with More Work , Im Gonna Say " No Im sorry
I already Over Acheived This Week " Wonder what Response I will Get . If I Hear that Phrase once more Im Gonna Vomit , what a cop out


Reserve Grader
I think what Des is trying to say, in almost a cryptic way, is that he sacrificed the last half of the year for the future. Pissing off your captain and halfback would undoubtedly ruin your teams hopes for any shake of the competition, the same goes for it's affect on team morale. Des pretty much weighed up the options and realised we're better off with Orford + a waste of a good start rather than keep the current cattle and fall short year after year.


First Grader
It was a massive cop out as Steve said. He's dead set kidding himself.

"Over Acheived"

Get the bucket Six :)


First Grader
The club itself said so since they got BK, even at the season launch. We were sprouting top 6.

Obviously you've bought the Over Acheived tripe.

Just in case you have forgotten we were way outclassed at least 5 times this year.


Reserve Grader
yeh exactly...if you can just cast your minds back to the start of the year and take an un-biased opinion of were we should've come and it wuld have been outside the top 8


First Grader
We bought BK, Kite and Witt.....Tezza?

Everyone who who knew the club expected top 8.

All our polls here did as well. If you didn't expect top 8 you are in the minority.


Reserve Grader
I expected 8-10 and that was with a touch of blinkered loyalty. We finished ahead of teams like the Bulldogs, Roosters, Panthers and Knights. How could anyone expect that?


Winging it
Excellent suggestions Mata.

To say we have overachieved is ridiculous. The club expected and stated that they wanted a top 8 position. They got that. That is meeting the goal, not overachieving. To be leading the comp and at the very top for the first half and then just fall into the top 8 by a series of pathetic performances from other teams is not success. The last 10 weeks results is like sitting around pulling your fingernails out and then reflecting what a good job you did because you won't have to cut them for some time. Wake up!!

As for the future - outside of two purchases that gives us some piece of hope we have very little to be confident about. There needs to be a huge change.


Reserve Grader
Why does there need to be a huge change? Our attacking deficiencies have been addressed and we KNOW the boys can tackle, we saw it in the first half of the season. I'm very confident about next season.

There are a variety of reasons why we fell off the pace in the second half of the year, they may seem like excuses and I suppose in a way they are, but we all know that we were never going to win the competition.

Perspective is the key word here.
Team P W L PD Pts
12 9 3 83 22
14 10 4 78 22
13 9 4 110 20
13 8 5 66 20
13 7 6 81 18
12 7 5 -37 18
13 7 6 133 16
13 7 6 47 16
13 7 6 -34 16
13 6 6 27 15
13 6 6 26 15
14 7 7 -26 14
13 6 7 -47 14
13 4 9 -111 10
12 3 9 -123 10
12 3 9 -136 10
12 2 10 -137 8
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