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Foley's Tahs fate hangs as Force weigh options


Greg Growden


Hair-brained ... Tatafu Polota-Nau.

Hair-brained ... Tatafu Polota-Nau. Photo: Getty Images

Whether the Waratahs make dramatic changes to their coaching staff could be determined by who the Western Force recruit as their head honcho next season. While at least two Waratahs directors recently have been asking outside influences - even stopping them in the street - for their thoughts on whether Michael Foley should stay as Waratahs coach after losing the past six matches, the Force are close to deciding who will replace Richard Graham. Our snouts tell us that on the Force shortlist are Scott Johnson, Todd Louden, Brian Melrose and Michael Cheika. Even an edgy Australian provincial coach has contacted the Force offering his services. Johnson has solid credentials but we understand that Cheika has very strong player support in Perth. But there also are many in Sydney keen on Cheika, and he has the backing of several Waratahs players. One has even made it known he will leave the Tahs if Cheika does not become head coach. Whether Cheika is the next Waratahs coach will hinge on next week's meeting involving Foley and Waratahs heavies. Also who ends up Force coach will have some influence on whether their star player and captain David Pocock stays in Perth or goes to Canberra next year.

Uncool in the crisis

Several Waratahs heavies are getting very edgy that many members of the Sydney media are keeping the heat on them and a constantly losing team this season. This has even prompted one understandably nervous NSW nellie to call for a concerted public relations campaign - even suggesting those in the press corps who've had the temerity to criticise the administration for its failings should be ostracised and placed in a ''leper community category''. At least some at Moore Park are pleading not to go down the ''non-accreditation'' path. And despite what is being spun from the few still at head office, the Waratahs are not happy campers. There is division. Team officials are being targeted, major positions are under threat and the relationship between the Waratahs and head office is not healthy. Paranoia reigns.

The Afro airbag

The reason why Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau keeps knocking himself out? According to Wycliff Palu, it may have something to do with his hairstyle. In tomorrow's Test program, Palu explains Polota-Nau goes ''at a hundred miles an hour'' because ''he believes his Afro is an airbag''. Still, you have to admire Polota-Nau for playing in last weekend's Test as he was very ill on match day with a virus. As fellow front-rower Sekope Kepu put it: ''At half-time he was hugging the bowl.''

Loo with a view

Those in charge at Allianz Stadium want to keep the punters happy at tomorrow's Wallabies-Wales Test. In the second floor members area, four toilets have been fitted with television screens, so when nature calls fans can keep in touch with on-field action. Also a free SCG Trust phone app will help fans access the latest live transport, parking and venue information on Test day. There's also a pre-Test fan day at the SCG.

Trojans hit a snag

It's that time of the year when footy clubs raise funds for end-of-year-tours. You must sympathise with the Terrigal Trojans under 16s who organised a sausage sizzle that coincided with the big wet. As the torrential rain hit the coast, the Trojans struggled to suck in the hungry and sold only 16 sausages for the day. That included five they ate themselves.

Rumours of the week

■ The antics of the serial offending provincial official known as Radio for his big mouth continue. He is now expected to be forced to move on because of concerns over money repayments and incriminating evidence involving a Super 15 player.

■ An Australian province seriously considering replacing its CEO has been sniffing around a well-known rugby identity. However this identity has shot himself in the foot big time with unsavoury remarks on his Facebook page relating to a high-profile Wallaby. Surely the province could not even think of inviting him past the front door, especially as that player is in its team.

■ The deep divide between the Waratahs and the ARU remains with some interesting manoeuvring going on and strange allies joining forces. The ARU corporate governance review, where NSW will lose a lot of their power, is causing concern at Moore Park. Some would-be emperors are discovering their base is diminishing.

24 comments so far

  • I hope the Force have enough wisdom not to pick any of those mentioned above as their next Coach and in saying that, I'd go for the "edgy Australian Provincial Coach", any coach would be better than any of that lot, they've done nothing of consequence and coached nothing of consequence!

    Considering the Force had one of the best Coaches in the International game and got rid of him for whatever reason, it'd be prudent to think they'd look a tad higher than the second raters mentioned here!

    Go for an top International Coach and pay him well and keep off his back to let him get on with the job, unlike their inaugural Coach.

    There are no top Coaches in Australia so go overseas, it's the only way!

    Date and time
    June 22, 2012, 11:05AM
    • It's interesting to compare GG's list with the one in the West Australian yesterday: Scott Johnson, Michael Cheika, Eddie O'Sullivan, John Mulvihill and Tim Lane. "Edgy provincial coach" would have to be the one who is about to be shafted at the Tahs & I don't think the Force need the circus that will necessarily accompany his impending departure from Fort Fumble. Best shot for Michael Foley will be to head to France to lick his wounds, just like Ewan McKenzie had to. Apart from that I think most of the above would be capable - main thing the Force need is an academy so that WA players don't have to head elsewhere for their finishing a la Zack Holmes!

      Date and time
      June 22, 2012, 11:57AM
    • If you are talking about John Mitchell then I suggest that he was an abject failure as Coach of the WF. He arrived with a good record,he had one of the best playing lists in Australia and yet the Teams achievements under him were abysmal. Other aspects of his performance were questionable too. Also he "resigned" remember!
      I do agree that the WF should raise their sights in recruiting the best possible Coach on the Planet, however realistically this may not be achievable.

      Date and time
      June 22, 2012, 12:20PM
    • Todd Louden did alright with Randwick in 2006, the Bulls in 2007 - they won, remember? And the Waratahs 2008.

      Date and time
      June 22, 2012, 1:22PM
  • It seems that to understand almost anything Greg Growden writes in the 'rumours' segment every week (?), one has to live in NSW and be part of some inner sanctum to understand what on earth he is saying. All seems a bit pretentious to me.

    Date and time
    June 22, 2012, 12:07PM
    • Ah but if you make it obscure and ambiguous enough you can sound like you know what's going on without actually having a clue, then like Nostradamus you can point out those developments that seem to fit and just ignore the rest. I'll believe GG actually has a clue what he's talking about the week I see him tip a Brumbies win... But the I'll probably suffer a fatal heart attack that week so my confidence will be short lived.

      Date and time
      June 23, 2012, 9:58AM
  • Have you lost the plot Kirky? That is a list of some of the best coaches from Australia operating at the moment and between them have bucket loads of international experience. Scott Johnson has been in the coaching teams for Wales, USA, Australia and Scotland. Micheal Cheika has coached some of the biggest clubs in Europe and has won a Heineken Cup for gods sake! Todd Louden started the Sydney Uni dynasty and turned around struggling clubs like Randwick and the Black Rams in Japan and made them premiership contenders in their respective competitions. That does not sound like "nothing of consequence" to me...
    And you want to ignore this group and go with an unknown provincial coach? Well lets just say I'm very glad you are not on the Force board (having said that you would probably fit in nicely on the Waratahs...)

    Date and time
    June 22, 2012, 12:10PM
    • Kirky, I suggest you Google "Michael Cheika Coach".
      Read a few links and then give yourself a long overdue uppercut.

      Ideas Man
      Date and time
      June 22, 2012, 12:18PM
      • @ kirky
        My guess it's Steinlager, eh ?

        inner west sydney
        Date and time
        June 22, 2012, 4:48PM
    • go with someone with a track record at provincial record - like the brumbies did - don't employ a assistant coach and then crucify him when in his first year doesn't get a result -make the board take some responsibility and put a performance clause in for the whole organisation - try and poach the chiefs coach wayne smith with a better package surely sydney could be more fun than provincial NZ with all respect to country living - in NZ its not rocket science get someone with form - pay then to run the show ad keep the hounds tooth brigade away from wayne and let him pick his players and coach the team - then elect me to the board - I'm suffering watching NSW under perform

      Date and time
      June 22, 2012, 1:31PM

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