Rugby League

Wests Tigers on the lookout for NFL-style general manager to sit above head coach

The Wests Tigers have begun the search for an NFL-type general manager who will  sit above head coach Jason Taylor and oversee the club's football operations.

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The Tigers are in the process of restructuring the organisation, with chief executive Justin Pascoe on the lookout for a general manager to take charge of both the club's roster and coaching staff.

While most clubs in the NRL give the head coach full control of his staff and players, the Tigers, who this week terminated the contract of football manager Phil Moss, will adopt a model commonly used in US sports to allow Taylor to focus solely on coaching.

"To maximise efficiency you need to have collaboration and the head coach will still be part of the decision-making process," Pascoe said.

"But in saying that the very nature of a head coach is to worry about the short term, where the general manager would have a broader vision and make decisions based on what's best for the sustainability and longevity of the club. That will ensure we don't fall into a similar position with the salary cap that this club has in the past. 

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"I want someone who comes into my office every single day demanding we should be chasing this player or that player and coming up with solutions and proposals for how that can happen. It will be very similar to the American sport general manager role."

The Tigers have found themselves in sticky situations in recent years paying big dollars for players with a short-sighted view of winning football games.

Given the ruthless nature of coaching in the modern era, most head coaches are so desperate to avoid being punted that they fail to look to the future.

However Pascoe is looking for someone to fulfil a role similar to what Phil Gould does at the Penrith Panthers, working with Panthers Group boss Warren Wilson.

While Gould has no input in game-day tactics or selections, he works with the head coach to determine which players to recruit or let go.

He also oversees the coaching department, recently deciding to part ways with Ivan Cleary to bring in former Broncos coach Anthony Griffin.

"Anyone who harbors coaching aspirations wouldn't be considered," Pascoe said.

"They would oversee the entire football department – from welfare to development to coaching and of course the high performance and innovation. I want to find an individual who has the capacity to really go outside the box and try and look for benchmarking and best practices that exist not just within our code but on a global level.

"I want this club to become the envy of all clubs and this individual will play a significant part in contributing to that. And the thing to note is that this person will develop processes and procedures that will allow players to get the very best out of themselves and and the coaches to focus on coaching.  The decision on players always has an element of coaching input, but the final decision won't be with the coach. Inevitably coaches coach for a contract period, but we're trying to build past a coach's contract period."

The Tigers have just formed a list management committee and met for the first time on Friday. The club is hopeful the new general manager will be at the helm before the opening trial of the season in February.

"We've started the process through Sports Recruitment International on Friday and we envisage to have someone in for the first week of February," Pascoe said.

"I want someone in by the trial up on the Sunshine Coast so they can get a feel for what happens on game day basis and get a feel for the list and coaching staff."

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