Wests Tigers CEO Stephen Humphreys
AN UPDATE FROM WESTS TIGERS CEO STEPHEN HUMPHREYS
Dear Wests Tigers Member,
Let me begin by saying I totally understand many of you are concerned and somewhat confused by recent media reports regarding our Club. There is no question that it has been an unsettling week for all of us who love Wests Tigers.
I wish I could have given our perspective on things earlier however we have been committed to a process of review which has really only now started to take shape.
2012 has been a challenging year.
Whilst two of our teams will proudly take their place on Grand Final day this Sunday, we accept that we are ultimately judged by our performances in the top grade.
There is no hiding from the fact that our NRL performances this year were very disappointing and we are all hurting because of it.
At Wests Tigers, we are a results-driven organisation and performance reviews are part and parcel of how we operate on an annual basis.
We have been working hard to review all facets of our operation. We are determined to find ways to improve our performance, both on and off the field.
There has been plenty of speculation in the media about a number of things including the future of our Head Coach as well as contractual issues with various players.
Whilst there are many positives in being a popular Club with high profile identities, on this occasion the speculation on these issues has been very unhelpful but it is obviously something beyond our control.
As I have stated publicly already, the Club made a decision not to act hastily on such important matters as these.
We are only concerned about achieving the best possible outcomes for our Club. The fact that it has taken a little longer than some people would have liked is simply a consequence of our determination to get it right.
Having now gone through a very thorough process, I can advise you that the Board of Wests Tigers has decided to restructure the Club’s Football operations. This restructure will include the appointment of a new NRL Coach for 2013.
A sub-committee has been formed which will lead the process of selection and appointment. This process will commence immediately.
The Board has also expressed a strong desire for current Head Coach Tim Sheens to remain at the Club in a senior role.
I have been working with Tim on this over the last few days and I must say that he has been very professional in the way he has conducted himself. In all of our discussions Tim continues to put the best interests of Wests Tigers above all else.
We have been very privileged to have someone of Tim’s calibre and standing in the game as our Head Coach for the past decade. He is the major reason why our Club is now in significantly better shape than when he found it in 2003.
He led us to our first Premiership success in 2005. We will never forget that defining achievement for our Club. For all of these things, we are forever indebted to him.
In relation to player issues, it is with regret that I confirm to you that Chris Heighington will be leaving the Club.
As sometimes happens in professional sport, Chris received a very generous offer from a rival Club.
After considering his options, Chris requested a release from the final year of his Wests Tigers contract in order to accept this offer. Out of respect for Chris and everything he has done for our Club, we decided to grant him his request.
Chris has been an outstanding Clubman, very popular amongst his team-mates as well as our Members and we will all miss him dearly.
I can also confirm that Beau Ryan has advised us that he will be joining the Cronulla Sharks from 2013.
We were surprised and disappointed to hear of Beau’s decision. It certainly wasn’t our preference. Beau knows that we wanted him at our Club for the next three years but ultimately he has made his decision. We thank him for his whole hearted commitment and contribution to Wests Tigers.
We wish Chris and Beau every success for the next phase of their respective careers.
Our Captain Robbie Farah is off contract at the end of next year and you will be pleased to know that the Club has already commenced discussions with him about a new deal. Robbie is a vital member of our Club and it is our highest priority to secure his ongoing services beyond next season.
For his part, Robbie loves Wests Tigers and I know his strong preference will be to remain at our Club.
You will also be pleased to know that Benji Marshall is looking forward to a big year in 2013.
Benji has expressed his sadness at losing a couple of the team’s popular members. I know that from speaking with Benji that he is fully committed to our Club and is determined to do everything he can to deliver success to us all in 2013.
I hope you find this information helpful for you to understand some of the things currently going on at our Club. I’ll endeavour to keep you well informed in the future.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your great support of Wests Tigers. All of us at the Club, including the players and coaches, greatly appreciate your decision to become a Member and we hope that you continue your Membership next year and beyond.
I would also like to thank the many of you who have already renewed your Membership for 2013. We were overwhelmed with your support on the first day of our 2013 “It’s My Life” Membership drive.
I’m thrilled to tell you that yesterday’s Membership sign ups were more than double our first day results from any previous years.
That tells me that despite all of the understandable concerns that many of you have had, your support for our Club has never been stronger.
I would like to congratulate Alan Bryant, Grant Thomas and Vincent O’Malley for renewing their Membership yesterday and in so doing all have won an invitation for themselves and four guests to attend the NRL Members Grand Final party and the filming of the Channel Footy Show this Thursday evening. Look out for more great prizes on offer throughout this week.
In closing, I wanted to say how excited we all are with the depth of talent emerging from our development program. In a remarkable year, the Balmain SG Ball side were crowned Premiers for the first time in 30 years, Wests Tigers has reached the Grand Final of the NYC competition, as has one of our NSW Cup teams, Balmain Ryde Eastwood Tigers.
The quality of talent amongst these teams and right across our pathways is the envy of other rival Clubs.
Let’s cheer on our boys this Sunday and we look forward to your continued support.
Chief Executive Officer