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Manly on a Mission

Discussion in 'Sea Eagles' started by Kiwi Eagle, Jul 4, 2010.

By Kiwi Eagle on Jul 4, 2010 at 9:10 AM
  1. Kiwi Eagle

    Kiwi Eagle Moderator Staff Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +3,894 /65
    FORMER Maroons, Kiwis, Manly and Cowboys coach. Public speaker. Former NZRL director of football. Taxi driver. Newspaper columnist. And at present, CEO of the famous Manly rugby league club. On either side of the Tasman, Graham Lowe needs no introduction.

    MANLY MAN: This job has brought a different, new energy into my life. - Graham Lowe on becoming Manly boss.

    A polarising figure known – and in some quarters despised – for speaking his mind, Lowe has never taken a backward step to anyone. Nor has he shied away from a challenge.
    So late last year, when he was surprisingly asked by Manly officials to move across the ditch and sign on as the club's CEO – 18 years after he stepped down as coach of the first-grade side – he said "yes".
    And he hasn't looked back.
    "It's been fantastic. I don't know where the six months has gone," Lowe said.
    "I plan my week pretty carefully but then, at the end of the week, I look back and wonder where all the time has gone.
    "I've been really busy – probably the busiest I've ever been in my life."
    When Lowe took the top job at Manly, few could have argued he didn't have his hands full.
    The club's former CEO Grant Mayer resigned last June after months of in-fighting between factions aligned with the club's co-owners Scott Penn and Max Delmege.
    But Lowe says peace has been restored.
    "The job came with a number of challenges that had been a bit of a problem for the club," he said.
    "I was able to sort that out quite quickly."
    Early this week, Lowe snuck back in to New Zealand for a series of commercial meetings.
    His well-documented goal is to position Manly as the second-most popular NRL club on this side of the Tasman.
    The reality is no outfit will ever topple the Warriors for home-town support. Lowe – a former club owner – knows that. But that hasn't stopped him from thinking outside the box.
    "Like all clubs, we absolutely want to tap in to the New Zealand market," he said.
    "Manly has a strong connection with this country and, because times have changed, we have to work with the Warriors over here now.
    "We don't want to work against them.
    "I had a brief discussion with (Warriors CEO) Wayne Scurrah at the recent CEO's conference and I think that we are both in the same boat in terms of things such as low membership numbers.
    "One of the things we need to work on is improving that – and maybe it's something we could do together.
    "I haven't had a chance to talk about it with Wayne properly but it seems to me it's something that would be a good fit for the two clubs."
    Lowe is already exploring the propsect of staging a Sea Eagles home game in Auckland, potentially at Eden Park.
    He met with officials from the iconic ground on Wednesday.
    But another possible way to grow membership numbers, he says, is by potentially allowing Warriors members in Sydney to attend Manly home games and Sea Eagles fans in Auckland to go to Warriors games.
    Discussions have only just got underway between the two clubs about the concept.
    "Both clubs could add additional value to their members," Lowe said.
    "There are a lot of Warriors supporters in Sydney and there are a lot of Manly supporters in New Zealand. So it seems to me that just because these sorts of things haven't been done before, we shouldn't be looking to try to work something out that's best for supporters of both clubs.
    "We are trying to get a handle on where we sit over here.
    "We are looking at various venues in New Zealand to bring games back here.
    "I'm really keen on that idea but I'm also conscious of the effect that it could have on our season ticket holders.
    "As a result, that means it has to be commercially worth our while to do it."
    Of course, on a darker note, most league fans will be familiar with Lowe's long-standing health problems. His medical history includes a triple bypass, multiple deep vein thromboses, pulmonary embolisms and strokes.
    But, he says, since returning to his old club this year, he's been as sweet as a nut.
    "My health has been fantastic," Lowe said.
    "Look, I'm always going to have this thing hanging over me. But this job has really brought a different, new energy into my life."
    And as for his future, he's contracted to the Sea Eagles until the end of next year. After that, he's still not sure what will happen.
    "The club's already made it very clear to me they are expecting and want me to stay on as CEO after that," he said.
    "And while that's flattering, I don't know what's going to happen – it's too early for me to say anything about that right now.
    "What I can say is I'm enjoying every moment of it and the only thing making it tough for me is the mirror.
    "Every morning when I look in it, I can't help but wonder who that old bugger is staring back at me."


Discussion in 'Sea Eagles' started by Kiwi Eagle, Jul 4, 2010.

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