Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah is adamant Mick Potter has the full support of his players group after the club decided to postpone a decision on the embattled coach’s future until the end of the season.
After reports on Sunday morning indicated Potter was set to be axed at a board meeting that night, the Tigers released a statement on Sunday evening saying they would put a decision on Potter’s future on hold after intense speculation.
Speaking after Sunday’s 28-12 round 20 NRL loss Farah also hit back at claims Gorden Tallis made on Triple M that the NSW rake told him that Potter couldn’t coach.
“Mick has the support of the full playing group and will continue to have the support of the playing group. That has never been an issue,” Farah said.
“Mick knows that and the players know that.
“We have got on with business as we showed last week, unfortunately we didn’t get the job done this week but nothing changes for us.”
In the statement Tigers chairman Mike Bailey said he wanted the focus to be on football.
“The team has fought hard to put us in a position to compete for a top eight finish in 2014, he said.
“Ongoing speculation about the Clubs three coaches is unhelpful and destabilising at a time where we need unity.
“Members and sponsors have voiced their disappointment at how this has been played out in the open forum. This stops now.”
Farah was less than impressed with Tallis’s pre-game claims, and the two exchanged terse words on the ANZ Stadium turf post-game when Tallis attempted to interview Farah.
“I heard about those (comments), I’m not happy about it and he knows I’m not happy about it,” Farah said.
“It is completely false, I don’t have to sit here and justify myself and Mick’s relationship.
“We have a job to lead this club and we are doing the best we can.
“Some people have to go out and get their facts right before they want to run their mouth.”
Channel Nine’s broadcast of the game showed Potter and Farah enter a side room in the dressing sheds pre-game.
“It was to do with the press and we had to cover that, it was affecting Robbie and I had to address that,” Potter said.
“I did that and I thought it was best to be done in private, it is none of anyone’s business.
“It is covered and Robbie I thought had a really good game and tried his ring out for the club and the team, and he has proven he is a leader of a group of men.
Farah admitted the reports affected the team.
“It affected me, but we have to be stronger than that as leaders,” he said.
“Myself and Mick are leading the group and I guess I can’t show that it is affecting us and we just have to get on with the job.
“Unfortunately, as Mick said, we had our chances in the first half but we just let ourselves down with our execution, our last tackle options let them off the hook.
Potter’s assistant David Kidwell has been mentioned as a likely successor if he loses his job.
In Sunday’s other game, Manly defended their way to a 22-12 victory over the Warriors in Auckland, leaving them four points clear at the top of the NRL ladder.
On Saturday North Queensland made it rare back-to-back wins in Sydney with a 20-12 defeat of third-placed Canterbury that lifted them into seventh, their first time in the top eight since round 10.
Jarryd Hayne led Parramatta to a 24-18 victory over Gold Coast, whose home record slumped to 2-8.
In his best game this year Andrew Fifita inspired Cronulla to an 18-16 win over second-placed Penrith in Bathurst.
On Friday night Tyrone Roberts produced a man-of-the-match effort in Newcastle’s 16-12 win over the fifth-placed Sydney Roosters.
In Brisbane, sixth-placed Melbourne beat the Broncos 30-8 with captain Cameron Smith leading from the front.
Fourth-placed South Sydney can rise to second on the ladder with a win over Canberra in the nation’s capital on Monday to round off the weekend.