JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.



Cutting players down to size pays dividends for Blues and clubs

Winning Starts Monday

NSW coach Laurie Daley declined to pick Mitchell Pearce after he was involved in a late-night bar incident.

NSW coach Laurie Daley declined to pick Mitchell Pearce after he was involved in a late-night bar incident.

Todd Carney's sacking from Cronulla is the latest indication that player power is on the wane, with NSW, Penrith and the Sharks all benefiting from a tough stance on ill discipline by big-name stars.

Like Cronulla, the Blues and Panthers have axed star players for misbehaviour or poor attitude and have been respectively rewarded in the form of a historic State of Origin win and a share of the NRL competition lead.

The Sharks even gained a major sponsor in Labour Health, while their players put aside speculation they had initially considered boycotting last Saturday night's match against Sydney Roosters in protest at Carney's sacking to record one of the greatest wins in the club's history.

Cronulla's 30-28 win demonstrated that no player was bigger than the club and less than two weeks after captain Paul Gallen questioned the commitment of interim coach Peter Sharp, who has since resigned, Sharks management – led by chief executive Steve Noyce – have made it clear that they now call the shots.

Whether or not Cronulla officials followed due process in terminating Carney's $3.5 million, five-year contract without a hearing is another matter, but the easy decision would have been for them to give the troubled playmaker yet another chance.

Blues coach Laurie Daley found out the hard way that approach doesn't work when NSW's 2013 Origin campaign was derailed by the arrest of James Tamou and Blake Ferguson in separate incidents before the team went into camp for game two after winning the series opener.

While the pair were suspended from Origin II, Daley stuck by Josh Dugan, who had been out with Ferguson celebrating their reunification for the Blues after his sacking from Canberra, and he recalled Tamou for the series decider.

However, after his first season in charge Daley decided the culture in the NSW team needed to change and he excluded Tamou and Dugan from a pre-season camp before dumping long-serving halfback Mitchell Pearce after his arrest on the eve of this year's series.

It is hard to say for sure but Pearce's axing is likely to have been the moment when the group of Blues players that Daley had largely inherited from Ricky Stuart became his team.

After endorsing Pearce as the NSW halfback before the 2013 season had even started, Daley refused to publicly guarantee any player their position this year and told the camp in January that he expected them to meet certain behavioural standards at all times.

Had he stuck by the Sydney Roosters playmaker, who was once considered a future Blues captain, Daley's words would have been viewed as little more than a hollow threat by the NSW players and his authority to enforce change would have been undermined.

More than one coach has told this columnist after being sacked by an NRL club that they regretted not adopting a more ruthless attitude towards the players who ultimately caused their downfall and if Daley hadn't re-invented himself this year as a disciplinarian the Blues may be staring at a ninth consecutive series loss to Queensland.

At NRL level, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary is also now reaping the benefit of a hardline stance he and general manager Phil Gould have taken towards star players over the past two years.

During that time, Cleary and Gould have had to wear criticism for allowing – and in some cases encouraging – the likes of Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis, Michael Gordon, Lachlan Coote, Luke Walsh and Tim Grant to leave the club.

All had been at the club for a long time and were considered to be the Panthers' most influential players, both on and off the field.

But with Penrith having qualified for the finals just once since 2004, Cleary was given a licence to shake things up in a bid to attain long-term success and he made it clear that anyone resistant to change could go regardless of their reputation or what they had achieved in the game.

With the Panthers now top of the NRL table on 24 points after 17 rounds, that approach appears to have been vindicated.

3 comments

  • Luke Lewis was the one that had me thinking 'why?'.Sometimes the quieter blokes are the ones who resist change in ways harder to deal with, particularly if they are very influential on others. Whatever, looks like Gus and Ivan got that one right.

    Commenter
    BJ
    Date and time
    July 07, 2014, 10:11PM
    • Player power rises and falls according to management or the lack thereof.

      Commenter
      A O
      Location
      Kia Ora
      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 8:09AM
      • What a load of bollocks. Roosters dropped Pearce for disciplinary reasons. And their form has nosedived. Titans gave Carter a slap on the wrist for a more serious misdemeanour than the one that got Carney sacked. And they beat the Rabbitohs. Sharks won with Carney and without Carney. Hard to see a logical pattern in all this. Maybe your analytical talents would be better applied to reading tea leaves.

        Commenter
        Short Memory
        Location
        Manly
        Date and time
        July 08, 2014, 10:27AM
        Comments are now closed

        HuffPost Australia

        NRL Season 2016

        Round 1
        Thu, 03 MarTimes shown AEDT
        PAR vs BRI 20:05Pirtek
        Fri, 04 MarTimes shown AEDT
        MAN vs CBY 20:05BO
        Sat, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CBR vs PEN 15:00GIO
        WST vs NZW 17:30CSS
        NQL vs CRO 19:301300
        Sun, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
        SYD vs SOU 16:00AS
        GCT vs NEW 18:30Cbus
        Mon, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
        MEL vs STG 19:00AAMI
        Fri, 09 SepTimes shown AEST
        vs 00:00TBA
        Sat, 10 SepTimes shown AEST
        vs 00:00TBA
        vs 00:00TBA
        Sun, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
        vs 00:00TBA
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Thu, 10 MarTimes shown AEDT
        PEN vs CBY 20:05Pepp
        Fri, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BRI vs NZW 20:05SUN
        Sat, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CBR vs SYD 15:00GIO
        SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
        PAR vs NQL 19:30Pirtek
        Sun, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CRO vs STG 16:00Shark Park
        MEL vs GCT 18:30AAMI
        Mon, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
        WST vs MAN 19:00VAS
        Fri, 16 SepTimes shown AEST
        vs 00:00TBA
        Sat, 17 SepTimes shown AEST
        vs 00:00TBA
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Thu, 17 MarTimes shown AEDT
        NQL vs SYD 20:051300
        Fri, 18 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CBY vs PAR 20:05ANZ
        Sat, 19 MarTimes shown AEDT
        NEW vs CBR 17:30HS
        PEN vs BRI 19:30Pepp
        GCT vs WST 21:30Cbus
        Sun, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
        NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
        STG vs SOU 16:00SCG
        Mon, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
        MAN vs CRO 19:00BO
        Fri, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
        vs 00:00TBA
        Sat, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
        vs 00:00TBA
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
        SOU vs CBY 16:00ANZ
        BRI vs NQL 20:05SUN
        Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CBR vs GCT 17:30GIO
        SYD vs MAN 19:30AS
        Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
        STG vs PEN 16:00WIN
        Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
        NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
        WST vs PAR 16:00ANZ
        CRO vs MEL 19:00Shark Park
        Sun, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
        vs 00:00TBA
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Thu, 31 MarTimes shown AEDT
        MAN vs SOU 20:05BO
        Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
        GCT vs BRI 20:05Cbus
        Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
        MEL vs NEW 15:00AAMI
        WST vs CRO 17:30CSS
        NQL vs STG 19:301300
        Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
        PAR vs PEN 16:00Pirtek
        Mon, 04 AprTimes shown AEST
        CBY vs CBR 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Thu, 07 AprTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs STG 19:50SUN
        Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
        SOU vs SYD 19:50ANZ
        Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
        PAR vs CBR 15:00Pirtek
        NZW vs MAN 17:30MSS
        PEN vs NQL 19:30Pepp
        Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRO vs GCT 14:00Shark Park
        NEW vs WST 16:00HS
        Mon, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs CBY 19:00AAMI
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Thu, 14 AprTimes shown AEST
        MAN vs PAR 19:50BO
        Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
        NQL vs SOU 19:501300
        Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
        GCT vs STG 15:00Cbus
        CBY vs NZW 17:30Westpac Stadium
        BRI vs NEW 19:30SUN
        Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        CBR vs CRO 14:00GIO
        WST vs MEL 16:00VAS
        Mon, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs PEN 19:00AS
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs SOU 19:50SUN
        Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
        CBY vs GCT 15:00ANZ
        CBR vs WST 17:30GIO
        NQL vs PAR 19:301300
        Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRO vs PEN 16:00Shark Park
        Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        NEW vs MAN 14:00HS
        STG vs SYD 16:00AS
        MEL vs NZW 19:00AAMI
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Thu, 28 AprTimes shown AEST
        SOU vs WST 19:50ANZ
        PAR vs CBY 19:50ANZ
        Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
        PEN vs CBR 15:00Carrington Park
        SYD vs NEW 17:30CCS
        MAN vs NQL 19:30BO
        Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs STG 12:00MSS
        GCT vs MEL 14:00Cbus
        CRO vs BRI 16:00Shark Park
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Thu, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
        STG vs CBR 19:50Jubilee Oval
        Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
        PAR vs SOU 19:50Pirtek
        Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
        PEN vs NZW 15:00AMI Stadium
        MEL vs NQL 17:30SUN
        MAN vs BRI 19:30SUN
        Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
        WST vs CBY 16:00ANZ
        Mon, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        GCT vs SYD 19:00Cbus
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Thu, 19 MayTimes shown AEST
        SOU vs STG 19:50ANZ
        Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
        NQL vs BRI 19:501300
        Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
        WST vs NEW 15:00CSS
        NZW vs CBR 17:30Yarrow Stadium
        CRO vs MAN 19:30Shark Park
        Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
        PEN vs GCT 14:00Pepp
        CBY vs SYD 16:00ANZ
        Mon, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        PAR vs MEL 19:00Pirtek
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs WST 19:50SUN
        Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
        STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
        Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        CBR vs CBY 16:00GIO
        Mon, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        NEW vs PAR 19:00HS
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
        CBR vs MAN 19:50GIO
        Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs BRI 15:00MSS
        NQL vs NEW 17:301300
        MEL vs PEN 19:30AAMI
        Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs WST 16:00AS
        SOU vs GCT 18:30nib Stadium
        Mon, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        CBY vs CRO 19:00ANZ
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Thu, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs CBR 19:50SUN
        Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
        WST vs SOU 19:50ANZ
        Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
        NEW vs NZW 15:00HS
        PAR vs GCT 17:30TIO
        SYD vs MEL 19:30AS
        Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
        MAN vs PEN 16:00BO
        Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        STG vs CBY 16:00ANZ
        CRO vs NQL 19:00Shark Park
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
        SOU vs PAR 19:50ANZ
        Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
        STG vs MEL 19:30WIN
        Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs SYD 16:00MSS
        Mon, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
        PEN vs SOU 19:50Pepp
        Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
        NEW vs STG 15:00HS
        CRO vs NZW 17:30Shark Park
        CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
        Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCT vs CBR 14:00Cbus
        MEL vs WST 16:00AAMI
        Mon, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        NQL vs MAN 19:001300
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs CBY 19:50AS
        Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs MEL 19:50SUN
        Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs GCT 15:00MSS
        WST vs PEN 17:30ANZ
        CRO vs PAR 19:30Shark Park
        Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
        CBR vs NEW 14:00GIO
        SOU vs NQL 16:00Barlow Park
        Mon, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        MAN vs STG 19:00BO
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
        PAR vs SYD 19:50Pirtek
        Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
        CBY vs WST 19:30ANZ
        Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
        PEN vs CRO 16:00Pepp
        Mon, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
        CBR vs NQL 19:00GIO
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
        STG vs GCT 19:50Jubilee Oval
        Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
        MAN vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
        SOU vs BRI 19:30ANZ
        Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
        NEW vs MEL 14:00HS
        PEN vs PAR 16:00Pepp
        Mon, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs CRO 19:00AS
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Thu, 21 JulTimes shown AEST
        NQL vs CBY 19:501300
        Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs PEN 19:50SUN
        Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
        CBR vs NZW 15:00GIO
        GCT vs PAR 17:30Cbus
        MEL vs SYD 19:30AAMI
        Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
        CRO vs NEW 14:00Shark Park
        STG vs WST 16:00ANZ
        Mon, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
        SOU vs MAN 19:00ANZ
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Wed, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs PEN 22:00MSS
        Thu, 28 JulTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
        CBY vs STG 00:00ANZ
        GCT vs CRO 00:00Cbus
        PAR vs WST 00:00ANZ
        SOU vs CBR 00:00ANZ
        MAN vs NEW 00:00BO
        NQL vs MEL 00:001300
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Thu, 04 AugTimes shown AEST
        STG vs BRI 00:00WIN
        PAR vs MAN 00:00Pirtek
        CRO vs CBR 00:00Shark Park
        NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
        MEL vs SOU 00:00AAMI
        GCT vs NZW 00:00Cbus
        WST vs NQL 00:00VAS
        PEN vs SYD 00:00Pepp
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Wed, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs SOU 22:00MSS
        Thu, 11 AugTimes shown AEST
        CBY vs MAN 00:00ANZ
        BRI vs PAR 00:00SUN
        WST vs GCT 00:00CSS
        STG vs CRO 00:00Jubilee Oval
        NEW vs PEN 00:00HS
        SYD vs NQL 00:00AS
        CBR vs MEL 00:00GIO
        View All Fixtures
        Round 24
        Thu, 18 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
        SYD vs STG 00:00AS
        NEW vs GCT 00:00HS
        NQL vs NZW 00:001300
        MAN vs MEL 00:00BO
        CBR vs PAR 00:00GIO
        PEN vs WST 00:00Pepp
        SOU vs CRO 00:00ANZ
        View All Fixtures
        Round 25
        Wed, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs WST 22:00MSS
        Thu, 25 AugTimes shown AEST
        CBY vs NQL 00:00Belmore Sports Ground
        MEL vs BRI 00:00AAMI
        GCT vs PEN 00:00Cbus
        MAN vs CBR 00:00BO
        CRO vs SYD 00:00Shark Park
        NEW vs SOU 00:00HS
        PAR vs STG 00:00Pirtek
        View All Fixtures
        Round 26
        Wed, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs PAR 22:00MSS
        Thu, 01 SepTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs SYD 00:00SUN
        CBY vs SOU 00:00ANZ
        STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
        NQL vs GCT 00:001300
        MEL vs CRO 00:00AAMI
        WST vs CBR 00:00VAS
        PEN vs MAN 00:00Pepp
        View All Fixtures

        Follow Us on Facebook

        Featured advertisers