Was Ivan Cleary right to release Mitchell Moses?

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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49 Have your say

    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 @ 9:39am
      Jacko said | May 20th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      Cleary asked for and received a release a year early from coaching the Warriors so what goes around comes around

      • May 20th 2017 @ 12:10pm
        John said | May 20th 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

        Funny that.
        I found it strange Cleary called his own press conference at the airport but failed to mention the fact he told Moses multiple times he would be released before backtracking each time.
        Today will be your last training session, don’t come in tomorrow.
        Contract is on the table, contract is off the table.
        I don’t want people here who don’t want to be here, you’re not going anywhere!
        What a myth he’s turning out to be.

        • May 20th 2017 @ 4:11pm
          Jeffrey Dun said | May 20th 2017 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

          “….failed to mention the fact he told Moses multiple times he would be released before backtracking each time…”

          How do you know that is a “fact”. Perhaps the reason he didn’t mention this “fact” is because it didn’t happen.

          I have often wondered why Cleary would continually tell Moses he would shortly be released, and then backtrack. What purpose would that serve? It simply doesn’t make sense.

          • May 20th 2017 @ 5:01pm
            John said | May 20th 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

            More interestingly, he didn’t deny or even mention it during the entire 10 minutes he was on his soapbox.
            Tigers have been waiting on the Warriors kid and we’re obviously confident they had him.
            How’s that going for them?

            • May 20th 2017 @ 5:40pm
              Jeffrey Dun said | May 20th 2017 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

              You are right that he didn’t deny it, but that doesn’t make it a fact. I’m still wondering; however, why did he tell Moses (according to you) multiple time he would be released and then backflip?

              To what purpose?

              • May 20th 2017 @ 5:47pm
                John said | May 20th 2017 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

                Read above Jeffrey

    • May 20th 2017 @ 9:51am
      Albo said | May 20th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      My major concern with the release of Moses is that it continues to set the dangerous precedent that contracts mean nothing and players can swap Clubs anytime they want. Sure he was upset that the Club didn’t think he was worth as much as he and his uncle thought he was. As far as I am concerned he should have been made to see out his contract this year at the Tigers. If he wasn’t putting in, drop him to the reserves. If he still wasn’t putting in there, let him sit out the year. But if we are ever going to limit the influence that the player agents, middle men and hangers on types have on our game, a stand has to be taken now. Same goes for the Clubs. If they realise throughout the season that their roster is not as good as expected and they want to try to infuse some new blood mid season, forget it. Honour the contracts entered into. And the NRL needs to strongly enforce them. Otherwise the game will be left in the hands of spivs and charlatans who have no interest in the welfare of the game.

      • May 20th 2017 @ 10:22am
        fazed said | May 20th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

        Albo, in many ways I can agree with you, however had he been forced to stay, then it could have ended in a worse case scenario. Lets not forget the Tallis walk out of St George years ago when they refused to release him to the broncs, he said fair enough and sat out the year, RL could not do anything about it, and while he forfeited his contract money it didn’t help Saints one bit.

        What needs to happen now is for the NRL to really look into player contracts to circumvent this sort of thing happening, yet in other cases we see clubs shopping players around for their benefit and they don’t cop the same amount of flack that the players cop. The idea of a transfer window may work but it could also prove to be worse than what is in operation now.

        • May 21st 2017 @ 12:40pm
          Col in paradise said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

          Cleary should have held him to the contract and if he wasn’t playing well drop him but don’t release him – he signed a contract hold him to it – anyway he is a unproven Prima Donna and the eels yet again get a dud and pay overs – clowns

          • May 21st 2017 @ 4:33pm
            Jacko said | May 21st 2017 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

            Yes Col, in the same way that the Warriors should have held Cleary to contract and dropped him down to coach the U12s when Cleary walked out on the Warriors with a year to run on his contract

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 1:14pm
        Mad Magpie Rob said | May 22nd 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        Unfortunately Aldo the spivs and charlatans are already running the game. Player contract negotiations, new signings and players leaving clubs throughout a season demonstrates a complete disregard for the fans. I hold the NRL responsible for this. These activities should only be permitted throughout the off season. I also have a great concern with regards the amount of power currently held by the player managers. Wests management and our last coach certainly should be held responsible for the lions share of what eventuated at the club with the “Big Four”, but in the shadows, slinking out of sight, were the machinations of the player manager. The writer of this article is ridiculous to say the least in much of what he wrote, although the question posed within the title is valid. Given the circumstances, given the woeful mismanagement of the Wests administration and the sheer stupidity of poor player management by Taylor, given the NRL inaction in preventing contract negotiations throughout the term on a season, and given the slinky activities of the player manager, I can’t see that Cleary had much of a choice. He either needed to start to build for 2018 onwards or allow the rot to continue.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 9:53am
      curaeus said | May 20th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      Just another insane poorly researched load of anti Wests Tigers bile by someone with lots of form when it comes to this club. The Wests side of the JV is extremely profitable and has bankrolled the club for some time. Balmain are broke. Get that Lord BROKE! They wouldn’t have a presence at all but for the generosity of Wests Ashfield who now own 75% pf the merged entity as a direct result of the Balmain side’s financial woes.

      • May 21st 2017 @ 12:43pm
        Col in paradise said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        If it wasn’t for pokies n booze half the NRL clubs would be bust – the over payment of unproven players like Moses will kill the code – the player managers also operate like dodgy mafia dons n need to be cleaned out

    • May 20th 2017 @ 10:46am
      Worlds Biggest said | May 20th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      Lordy, Balmain wouldn’t survive as a standalone entity. Without Wests there would be no Club. When they merged there should have been plans to base themselves at Campbelltown and push to upgrade the Stadium. Still play a few home games at Leichhardt but the rest at a revamped Campbelltown Stadium. Agree the Manly / Norths merger was a complete disaster. St George / Illawarra has been pretty successful on the field.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 4:21pm
      Jeffrey Dun said | May 20th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

      “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.”

      Balmain is insolvent and Tedesco is a Magpie junior. So, in your imaginary world, currently Woods and Moses would have no Balmain to play for, let alone for the rest of their careers, while Tedesco would never had played for Balmain.

      I’m usually reluctant to be too critical of articles on the Roar David, but this article of yours is unmitigated balderdash.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 4:39pm
      Aem said | May 20th 2017 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

      Odd that you use an argument for Balmain over Wests/Wests Tigers yet fail to acknowledge that Manly were the club in the worse position at the time of the merger with the Bears, despite later being in a much better position that them financially (like Wests are over Balmain currently).

      Does not compute.

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