No diamonds, just Searles as Cronk says no
An unwanted public mathematical inquisition was avoided yesterday when Cooper Cronk announced he was steering clear of the Gold Coast Titans.
At 10.30am league fans were poised – with their verbal whips and a million calculators in preparation – to unleash on Michael Searle and his mystic abacus.
They had all heard the rumours that Cronk was to be shoehorned into their seemingly sardine-like salary cap and needed to know if it was true.
The buzz earlier in the week was that he was as good as gone, but I reckon Cooper experienced an epiphany.
I’m predicting it was a realisation that he appreciated the simple things in an employer/employee relationship.
You know what I’m talking about. The little luxuries such as guaranteed remuneration for the duration of a contract and a reasonable expectation that the new work shed is still going to be open in 12 months’ time.
It’s an understandable concern which won out in the wash. And for now, he shall remain a Storm boy, albeit with much lighter tracksuit pockets compared to the loaded board-shorts variety he would’ve had in Queensland.
But what about the big matzah ball that Michael Searle has left hanging in the outer?
His club is financially punch-drunk, swaying back and forth and praying that not even the smallest summer zephyr puffs through the party strip and knocks the joint down.
In addition to this, his salary cap has to be like a bulging thigh in tights at the moment as well.
So how can he afford to dangle a $800k per year diamond-encrusted carrot to the hottest agent on the market?
It’s cash-flashing like this in the midst of a $30 million financial crisis that has us all scratching our heads and wondering why David Gallop hasn’t smashed the big red emergency button at the headquarters for contract-comber Ian Schubert more urgently.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a layman with bugger-all business nous. But even to me, something here economically reeks like the filter on the kiddies pool at Wet’n'Wild.
It makes Searle seem like the kind of bloke who, if he owed you money, would send his butler around to your house in his Aston Martin to ask for an extension because he’s skint.
His juggling of a basketcase budget, combined with his ability to influence the finest in available talent to work for him, should have us in awe at his Rain Man-esque maths aptitude. But we didn’t come down in the last shower.
How does he stuff in the Princes and Jamals and Nates and shut the cap lid down without it bursting open?
Is it his excellent skills of persuasion that convinces players that a little cut in pay is made up for by the Gold Coast lifestyle?
Perhaps he sells the prospect of meter-maids, schoolies and Warwick Capper, like that buck-eyed quipster sells Slap-Chops.
I hope none of his players up there buy a sausage roll and want something to carry it in, as I’m sure the district has run entirely out of brown paper bags.
Searle is a bottom-line genius. But as time goes on, it appears he’s got the thongs on the wrong feet.
If he could apply the same magic tricks to running the business as he does to manipulating his playing roster and its operating costs, then perhaps the fledgling club on the party strip wouldn’t be in such dire straits.
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