Matthew Elliott: 'No bitterness towards the club'
Matthew Elliott magnanimously adopted the role of pacifier as he signed off from the New Zealand Warriors, revealing he had cleared the press release announcing he was resigning as head coach - despite claims from co-owner Sir Owen Glenn that he was sacked.
The Australian issued a statement as the feud between Glenn and co-owner Eric Watson - antagonism that surfaced in the aftermath of Elliott's demise on Monday - intensified as both men unsuccessfully attempted to buy each other's 50 percent share of the embattled NRL club.
Europe-based Glenn argued Elliott was sacked without his knowledge - or consent - following the Warriors' dismal 37-6 loss to Cronulla in Sydney on Saturday; the club claims the businessman's representative on the board was aware the former Canberra, Bradford and Penrith coach was to be replaced by his assistant Andrew McFadden.
Elliott, who will soon return to Australia, tried to ease tensions after Glenn described the termination process as "diabolical" and "dishonourable."
"I sat with chairman Bill Wavish and agreed on the press release,'' Elliott wrote.
"At the end of the day, the club would have preferred this didn't happen and I'm in the same place. In these difficult situations, it's not about wording, it's about being respectful and I very much appreciate Bill for his sensitivity.
"My opinion around the decision has the same impact as every other human on the planet ... zero. The ref has blown his whistle and not even he can change the decision made.
"For what it's worth, I really believe Andrew McFadden is more than ready and has what it takes to lead the club to sustained success. Conversations led by myself had already taken place regarding 'Cappy' taking over next year.
"My desire to finish the process started was very strong, however, circumstances changed and in the grown-up world you take this stuff on the chin.
"I have absolutely no bitterness towards the club. In fact, I am very grateful for what they have done for me and my family."
Elliott was also confident the 14th-placed Warriors would still qualify for the top eight.
"When the spine settles in (they) will be a danger to all teams.
"Their best footie is definitely on the way. Keep the Faith.
"The football programme is in good shape and, with continued focus, development and a dose of poise and patience thrown in, results right across the club will come.''
Meanwhile, the Warriors longest-serving head coach Ivan Cleary - who prepared the team for 154 games between 2006-11 - said he felt for Elliott, his predecessor at the Panthers.
"No one in the coaching fraternity likes to see anybody lose their job. It'll be a hard time for him," he said.
Cleary also sympathised with the playing group, especially those he had mentored during his time at Mt Smart.
"It's a hard period for those boys. There's a lot of uncertainty around and there has been for a long time, I guess.
"You need everybody in the organisation being supportive so there certainty and they (players) can turn up and concentrate (on football).
"There has to be question marks over management and ownership," he said.
"There's been some weird things said this week."
Cleary led the Warriors to the finals series four times, culminating in 2011 Grand Final loss to Manly so bristled at suggestions the club was inconsistent.
"We made the finals four years out of five. I think only two others teams in that period did that, Manly and Melbourne.
"We had a bad year in '09 (14th) and then came back to make the finals in the next two years," he said.
Reminded the team's performances often fluctuated wildly from week to week, Cleary offered an explanation.
"I think Kiwis don't understand the travel, there's no other team that does anything like it. The (North Queensland) Cowboys get close. If you look at their results you could call them inconsistent, they hardly ever win in Sydney."