Experienced sports executive Steve Noyce played a crucial role in Shane Flanagan‘s return to coaching, although Flanagan may not be aware of it. St George Illawarra board member Peter Doust conducted extensive research on Flanagan to determine if he was suitable for the head coach position. Concerns were raised about Flanagan’s character due to his unwillingness to take responsibility for the supplements scandal at Cronulla and subsequent bans. However, Noyce, who experienced the fallout from the scandal as Cronulla’s CEO, vouched for Flanagan and believed he deserved another opportunity. Noyce highlighted Flanagan’s ability to coach a rugby league team and his willingness to take on multiple responsibilities. Doust was also reminded of Flanagan’s previous roles at the Dragons, including head of recruitment and assistant coach at St George Illawarra and Manly. The Dragons will allow Flanagan to lead the team in his own way, but they expect him to prioritize coaching and not push for the employment of a head of football. Jason Ryles, who declined the position, had suggested that the head coach should be involved in selecting the head of football, a suggestion that the Dragons rejected.
Ben Hunt‘s unsettled state at the Dragons was initially reported in this column, and the recent revelation of his request for a release has raised questions about what pushed him to make that decision. While Anthony Griffin‘s sacking played a major role, the final straw for Hunt was the way he and his teammates were left to deal with the media during the messy process. Dragons CEO Ryan Webb failed to address the media and left others to handle the sacking fallout.
The idea of Mitchell Pearce returning to the Roosters has been widely discussed, but upon closer inspection, it seems illogical. Roosters coach Trent Robinson has already dismissed the idea for this season, citing factors such as Pearce’s declining speed and the team’s already slow squad. The Roosters had previously let Pearce go in favor of Cooper Cronk, a move that led to two consecutive premiership wins. Rather than pursuing a romantic reunion, the Roosters should focus on reality and building a squad for the future. Pearce had the option to earn a significant salary by playing for the Tigers or guiding the Bulldogs this year, but declined both opportunities. It is unclear if any potential future employment with the Roosters would depend on another season of playing.
Wayne Bennett has offered rare insight into the controversial decision to strip Wally Lewis of his captaincy at the Broncos. This revelation came during an extensive interview conducted by James Bracey for the upcoming documentary, “Wally Lewis – The King.” Bennett admitted to the difficulty of the decision but emphasized the need for the young club to move forward. He sought advice from Tom Raudonikis, who had previously made tough decisions as a coach. Despite facing criticism, Bennett stood by his decision, confident that time would vindicate him. He expressed regret over the three months of headlines that followed the decision but maintained that it was the right move for the Broncos at the time.
Tensions between the NRL and the NSWRL will be palpable this week as both entities share the same team hotel. The NRL and NSWRL had recently clashed over governance and funding, leading to strained relations. Despite the NRL owning the Gambaro Hotel, located close to Suncorp Stadium, officials stated that it was fully booked, resulting in the awkward shared accommodation situation.
A senior executive in the sports industry could be facing trouble as a whistleblower has come forward with allegations of mistreatment of women, racist views, and abuse of power. Several sources who have worked for the organization have confirmed the claims, and further investigation will be conducted to verify the information.
George Burgess considers his suspension in 2015 for throwing a water bottle as one of the most ludicrous in the history of the game. However, he commends the efforts made to ensure player safety in wet weather conditions.