Was Ivan Cleary right to release Mitchell Moses?

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Mitchell Moses will turn out for Parramatta this afternoon when he was contracted to Wests Tigers until the end of the season. Are contracts becoming meaningless?

    The signing on the dotted line is a guarantee to the club a player just can’t wander off when it suits, and it’s a guarantee to the player that, if he behaves himself, the club can’t punt him unless they pay out the contract. It’s a fair crack of the whip both ways.

    But Mitchell Moses is different. All his young life he’s been a Balmain Tiger, watching his uncle Benny Elias strut his stuff with Steve Roach, Paul Sironen, Wayne Pearce, and Garry Jack with Leichhardt Oval sacred ground.

    But when Moses was old enough to be among the big boys, the Tiger junior had to play for the Wests Tigers, an amalgamation of the Western Suburbs Magpies and the Balmain Tigers, two foundation clubs from 1908.

    The administrators of the day should be pilloried for deciding on three amalgamations that should never have happened: Manly took only two seasons to gobble up another foundation club in North Sydney; the ill-fated Northern Eagles robbed Manly legends Steve Menzies and Geoff Toovey, among others, of one-club status; and St George gobbled up Illawarra very quickly, so the Dragons tag lives on.

    But Balmain is there as Tigers in name only. Wests control 75 per cent of the Wests Tigers club, Balmain just 25 per cent.

    There’s no culture nor tradition in Wests Tigers, with a shambles board and high coaching turnover despite winning the premiership in 2005. That did the club no favours, as it appeared on paper the amalgamation was a success – but nothing could be further from the truth.

    What should have happened in 2000 was that North Sydney, Illawarra and Wests should have been punted, leaving Manly, St George and Balmain intact to continue their status in the NRL – then Balmain juniors like Mitchell Moses, Aaron Woods and James Tedesco would most probably be Tigers for life.

    But thanks to Wests Tigers’s shameful handling Moses is an Eel today – and next season Woods will be a Bulldog and Tedesco a Rooster, and all that wonderful talent will be lost to Balmain fans who have been swallowed up by Wests.

    So Ivan Cleary had no option but to release Mitchell Moses after the board had told the youngest he wasn’t on the priority list to be retained.

    Last night the Wests Tigers were hammered 36-0 by the Broncos. The Wests Tigers board deserved the humiliation. The players do not.

    The NRL can correct a major wrong by punting Wests Tigers and bringing back the Balmain Tigers to a full Leichhardt Oval.

    If only.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (49)

    • May 20th 2017 @ 6:43am
      Bananaman said | May 20th 2017 @ 6:43am | ! Report

      You may have ruffled a few feathers with this article mate

      • May 20th 2017 @ 12:58pm
        Big Pete said | May 20th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

        Mitchell ” the sook ” Moses is in fact a Paramatta junior, not a Balmain junior, he just went to high school at Holy Cross Ryde after playing all his junior footy in the Parramatta Junior and Catholi competitions. He whined and uwhinned everytime he didnt win or get his own way and things havent changed as he see him doing the same now and only for uncle benny , he is the most overrated player inthe game right now.. As for the other clubs what really needed to happen in 2000 was for the gutless clubs like Norths Balmain and Wests was to stand besides the courageous South Sydney and take the NRL and asvwevevseen keep their identity and thrive. Before Mr lord takes aim at the board , take a long hard look at the the old Tiger players who for their own benefit and monetary gain, destroy the joint venture from day 1 . Those so called Rugby League diehards should have spent that energy fighting the nrl not the joint club. Shame on them for not standing up and being counted when it really counted. Shame shame shame

    • May 20th 2017 @ 7:01am
      Oingo Boingo said | May 20th 2017 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      I tend to agree with Mr Lord on this occasion.
      The only real question is , would it be too late ?
      Hasn’t Balmain leagues been levelled?
      I ride dirt bikes and one thing I know is , It’s not the ground you covered that gunna hurt you it’s what’s up ahead that you didn’t see coming .
      Having said that , the current situation is all over the place like a cuppla pups fighting over a pie .
      So I’m not sure it could be any worse .

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:44am
        Mad Magpie Rob said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        Oh Oingo Boingo. Reading your post very clearly explains to me why you would “agree with Mr Lord”. And your profound analogy about riding dirt bikes really does help clarify why Mr Lord is right in his view that Balmain should be re-instated – “If Only”. Further, to help with your question, with regards Balmain Leagues being levelled? Perhaps you could contact club legend Mr Benny Elias. I’m sure he would be more than pleased to “strut his stuff” and explain to you his perspective on what happened to the leagues club and his modest contribution to the clubs current standing.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 7:29am
      Al said | May 20th 2017 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      David, Balmain would have only folded last year anyway without Wests… give it up. Go pick on a different club, we are sick of you so called journalists laying in the boot when the club is down. Re watch that performance from last week and last night… tell me not to blame the players….

      • May 20th 2017 @ 11:57am
        John said | May 20th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report

        Moses’ fault last Friday.
        Players fault last night.
        Awful journalists putting the boot in every week.
        Everyone’s at fault except the coach and bumbling administration.

        • May 21st 2017 @ 9:19am
          Al said | May 21st 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          Yeah cause the coach and admin are out there playing like busteds? The fault of the PREVIOUS management was giving these pea hearts a contract.. if your not man enough to put in on the field with your mates regardless of what’s going on, then you don’t deserve to be there. He wouldnt have been on the the grass if it was my team back in the day.

          • May 21st 2017 @ 1:58pm
            John said | May 21st 2017 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

            Always someone else’s fault.
            The Wests Tigers mantra.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 7:32am
      Bup said | May 20th 2017 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      “All his young life he’s been a Tiger”. He played Harold Mathews for the Eels.

      • May 20th 2017 @ 9:10am
        Mitcher said | May 20th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        I wonder if, for some writers, there’s any accountability at The Roar for these type of repetitive failures to respect the audience enough to do the most simple of fact checking.

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:35am
          Mad Magpie Rob said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          Mitcher, hear hear. This article is a complete disgrace.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 20th 2017 @ 9:29pm
        DiscoDave said | May 20th 2017 @ 9:29pm | ! Report

        “watching his uncle Benny Elias strut his stuff with Steve Roach etc”
        Unless my maths is wrong, I’m pretty sure these guys all retired early ’90s. Mitchell Moses wouldn’t have been born?t

        • Roar Rookie

          May 21st 2017 @ 6:35am
          Don said | May 21st 2017 @ 6:35am | ! Report

          But that doesn’t suit the broken fairytale David is trying to promote.

          Indeed Ben Elias retired in 1994 and Mitchell Moses was born Sept 1994.

          So no, Mitchell never saw Uncle Benny strut his stuff for the Tigers…

          • May 21st 2017 @ 7:19am
            Jeff dustby said | May 21st 2017 @ 7:19am | ! Report

            I was going to say the same thing
            Pearce retired in 92

    • May 20th 2017 @ 7:43am
      jamesb said | May 20th 2017 @ 7:43am | ! Report

      Yeah David, great idea getting rid Illawarra. If that happened, then I fear that the region would decline with producing juniors. Who needs Illawarra. Sydney doesn’t have enough teams.

      With Wests Tigers, the Wests side of the merger is holding it together. They own 75%. And if you looked at their respective home grounds since the merger, Leichhardt Oval still looks run down, while Campbelltown Stadium has developed into a nice venue.

      At this rate, the Balmain side of the merger could disappear really soon.

      • May 20th 2017 @ 9:37am
        fazed said | May 20th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        Since the mergers who really has benefited? Manly have taken several of the old Norths teams in to their own district, yet Norths remain as an ISP club, while Manly have taken over a Western Sydney club for its NYC feeder in Blacktown, how does that work?
        Their home ground is now called Lottoland, wow what a name, condusive to the many gambling adds that we endure on the box for the weeks and nothing about the old Ground, just for gambling, and how many have tried to block out the contstant spam that comes into our computers promoting Lottoland, at least the gambling side of it.

        Balmain except for a splash of gold in the nominal joint venture on one of their jersies for playing at Campbelltown, while they have a predominately old Balmain jersey for the Leichardt games. The old grounds for Wests near their old leagues club at Pratten park, hosts what sports? that is if it still exists as a sports ground, Lidcombe oval is also defunct as a RL venue even though the posts have been put back in. Leichardt oval is a lovely place to watch RL but a cow to get to and from, has restrictions on it for doing any improvements.

        Saints/Illawarra. Have basically taken over the Illawarra region whereas in certain respects it would sit more in Cronulla territory, but like many other Sydney teams, their old boundaries really show no junior teams with the round ball game winning out. Worse still the last time I looked the old Wollongong/Illawarra RL has also seen a large drop in teams playing the game down there.
        Wollongong has benefited by the new stadium whilst Kogarah is basically full of ghosts.

        I don’t see much that has benefited many fans or the clubs by these mergers maybe Manly have been able to keep their seasons generally on track, Saints are showing form again, while Wests/Tigers are, much in netherland or somewhere, perhaps they have identity issues as to who they really are.

        Maybe for Wests/Tigers, they may be better to rid themselves of the joint venture name and play under a new brand that is more condusive to where their real home ground is, something crazy like Campbelltown. Give themselves a future name, but would not stop them playing at Leichardt though. Have a single Jersey identity for all games, but they also need a decent management in the front office, it may take time but like others when they get their management right, then they can go ahead.

      • May 21st 2017 @ 7:21am
        Jeff dustby said | May 21st 2017 @ 7:21am | ! Report

        Because Illawarra has no money and has been a financial drag on the JV
        They have poor crowds too
        Their juniors would end up the same way central coast, coffs, wagga, dubbo and ballina juniors are – in the NRL

        • May 21st 2017 @ 9:52am
          fazed said | May 21st 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          Jeff, you raise a point here that really gets under my skin, not just the fact of the mergers causing grief but more so the plight of RL outside the primary bases that we see these days. That is the slow death of Country Rugby league.

          With the finish of the City Country games, there’s only a few nails needed to seal the coffin on many of the strongholds you mention. Illawarra used to be very strrong, go out to places you mention along with Tamworth, Armidale, Parkes, Bathurst, Albury that had two teams in the same group, what of Junee and Temora, Wagga Wagga?

          The way the NRL/NSWRL /CRL is promoting the game in the regions these days, its not hard to see why the round ball and AFL is making such huge inroads not just in the city areas but also in the regions.

        • May 21st 2017 @ 9:59am
          jamesb said | May 21st 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          Jeff, name me an NRL team in Sydney whose crowds are going gangbusters?

          Also, when there’s only four NRL matches in Wollongong per year, then sooner or later there will be a disconnect between the club and the community.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 8:30am
      Jacks said | May 20th 2017 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      First off I think Clearly was right to release him, Moses efforts left him with no choice really in my opinion.

      David to claim this has occurred because they play for the Wests Tigers and not Balmain is drawing a very long bow. The Wests Tigers have existed 5 years longer than Mitchell Moses has been alive his not a poor devastated man unable to play for a local team like say Steve Menzies was all those years ago. He and in particular Benny Elias have show their true colours, crying foul and demanding to be released because he wasn’t made the Tigers number 1 priority is childish. This type of thing happens at every club every year do you really think James Graham, Josh Reynolds or Michael Gordan feel like a priority at their clubs at the moment? Of course they don’t but they are still putting in 100% and you know they will continue to all year because they are pro’s Moses has shown himself to be a man capable of a tantrum and that is it.

      For Elias to claim that the Tigers have mistreated Moses and that he is a superstar of the game is laughable and Clearly did the right thing getting rid of both of their influence for the rest of the year.

      • May 21st 2017 @ 12:34pm
        Col in paradise said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

        Clearly should have dropped him for the crap form – I wouldn’t cow tow to this unproven Prima Donna and release him to the eels till end of season – show these guys they need to show loyalty and that a contract is a contract – weak letting go – stick him in a lower grade club side – if he isn’t playing to form bad luck your not picked

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