Elliott decision was made last year, says Glenn
PETER LAMPP, DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Warriors co-owner Owen Glenn claims Eric Watson had decided to get rid of coach Matt Elliott late last year and was waiting for the right opportunity.
Elliott was sacked after the Warriors 37-6 loss to the Sharks over the weekend and but Glenn told Newstalk ZB Watson had informed him during a meeting in the United Kingdom at the end of last year that he wanted Elliott gone.
"I said hang on a minute, we've got a contract with Matt but he had already made his mind up.
"I didn't agree."
Meanwhile Glenn and Watson are set to part ways at the Warrors with the Elliott sacking the catalyst to an uneasiness that has been simmering for several months.
Glenn's strongly worded statement yesterday over Elliott's swift removal five games into the new season highlighted the tensions between the two wealthy owners of New Zealand's NRL franchise.
The two haven't spoken since Elliott was replaced by Andrew McFadden in the wake of last weekend's horror loss to Cronulla, yet were on rival radio stations this morning, offering their views.
Glenn said his partnership with Watson wasn't working, that he felt like he was excluded from decisions and didn't enjoy being involved.
"Like any partnership, if it's not working and somebody's either bending or breaking the bows, everybody looks at what they're doing in that partnership and if you're not getting anywhere, not having a lot fun at it and not reaching your objectives, there's a lot more to offer in life," Glenn said.
"I do a lot of philanthropy and a lot of investments, so it comes to a point where you're being ostracised, not being part of the decision making and not having any fun, do something else."
Glenn said he had become frustrated at the erratic nature of the Warriors results and that the right messages weren't being passed along to the players and coached.
"For a club to really make the big time you've got to win, you've got to at least be in the top eight and hopefully in the semifinals and final," he said.
"We run hot and cold like it's extraordinary, we win amazingly sometimes and lose tragically, so the continuity there's something missing.
"The management of the coaches and players, either the message is not getting through or people are in the wrong slots.
"But I'm not trying to tell everybody how to win in rugby league, because I'm not a rugby league specialist, I didn't play the game. I watch it, I'm not telling anyone what to do, I'm just seeing the results and saying there's something not right. Everyone has to take accountability.
"The fans, the supporters and sponsors should say hang on a minute, what is going wrong here?
"When we play it we show the best of what we can do, but why can't we get continuity?
"There's something wrong there that defies any ego. We should be looking at it from grass roots."
Glenn said he was personally not part of the decision-making to see off Elliott.
Glenn has a representative on the board to deal with his interests and said she wasn't able to have any say in the decision to axe Matt Elliott.
"She was in Australia and she was told it was a fait accompli, that it was a board decision, that's what she was told."
In a situation that sums up the current status, Watson was on LiveSport at the same time as Glenn was offering his views on NewstalkZB.
Watson suggested Glenn and he had been discussing Glenn's shares in the club for some time.
But they appeared to be at loggerheads over the decision to remove coach Elliott which resulted in Glenn's strongly worded statement yesterday.
"I haven't spoken to Owen (about Elliott's removal). At some point we will have a chat. We need to take a moment to ascertain where this is all going. I don't want this to be a media circus," Watson told LiveSport.
Asked if he would pick up the other half of the shares, Watson said: "I'm happy to have a partner. It has to be someone (or a syndicate) thinking the same way.
"However this comes to an end, it shouldn't affect the club. Shareholders matters should be kept in private, the board manages matters. We are very sound financially."
Watson was clearly bemused by Glenn's reaction to the coaching change.
"It is a strange situation ... he is probably damaging the value of those shares at the same time."
Watson said Glenn had wanted to distance himself from day to day matters and had "full visibility through his board member".
Watson admitted he himself had been guilty of being "an absentee owner" and was determined to be more involved.
Watson wanted stability now but couldn't garuntee there wouldn't be more changes
"No one is secure in their roles at the club until we get into shape - and nor should they be."
The last few days had "not been helpful to the Warriors going forward ... we need to focus on winning".
He believed Andrew McFadden was capable of getting the 10 per cent more out of the players needed to progress.
"We have to be better than 50 per cent (with wins) to make the playoffs.
"I feel they (the players) will play for the new coach. We need to get back to an aggressive approach. Andrew has impressed us. We think he is the right guy and we are backing him."
Watson also commented on the future of captain Simon Mannering who, as revealed by Fairfax Media last weekend, is considering other options.
"It would be greta to keep Simon. He delivers week-in, week-out."
Watson was confident that could be achieved.
- Fairfax Media
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