The future of Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter may be determined by whether the team makes the final eight after a board meeting on Sunday night deferred until the end of the season a decision on whether to extend his contract or sack him.
The joint venture board met at ANZ Stadium in Sydney after the 28-12 loss to St George Illawarra but decided to wait until the team's playing commitments had been completed after players admitted the intense speculation before the match had affected their performance.
Bizarrely, it may have also impacted on Potter's hopes of retaining the job as a win would have taken the Tigers to seventh place instead of slipping to 11th on the premiership ladder.
With Potter understood to have been given an assurance, which was written into his contract last year, that his tenure would be extended if the Tigers make the play-offs this season, the board may not have a decision to make.
"The team has fought hard to put us in a position to compete for a top eight finish in 2014," Wests Tigers chairman Mike Bailey said in a statement. "Ongoing speculation about the club's three coaches is unhelpful and destabilising at a time where we need unity. Members and sponsors have voiced their disappointment at how this has been played out in the open forum. This stops now."
Fairfax Media has been told Potter believed six weeks ago he would be offered a new contract but speculation re-surfaced after last week's 46-18 win over Canterbury that he would be sacked at the board meeting on Sunday night, which was initially scheduled to take place at the nearby Wests Ashfield Leagues Club.
While former Wests Tigers prop Todd Payten, who is popular with the players, had been mooted as Potter's replacement, fellow assistant coach and former Kiwi international David Kidwell is now favourite to get the job.
Potter said he was keen to remain in charge of the Tigers next season after introducing young talent such as Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses during his two years in charge of the club.
"Obviously they have shown a little bit of what they can do and I would like to be around a lot longer to see that through," he said. "It is the NRL and coaches get moved on and coaches stay and I am hoping that I am one that stays.
"I want the club to improve and I want the club to be as good as it possibly can be. I see a lot of momentum being built and I want to be a part of it.
"Ideally I would have like to have had this sorted months ago but am happy to put this to one side until our team's future is known."
- Sydney Morning Herald
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