It’s the business end of the Super 14 with the Waratahs hosting the Sharks in one semi to face the winner of Crusaders v Hurricanes in the other. It’s been a mighty comeback by the Tahs, from second-last in 2007 to second going into the finals, so you’d think all attention now would be on how NSW might defeat the South Africans.
Nah, this is New South Wales — just one step ahead of Queensland in the fumbling and bumbling administration stakes. Why worry about encouraging backsides to take seats on Saturday night when the main game is trying to find a coach silly enough to work for the NSWRU?
This is the administration that started the season by giving coach Ewen McKenzie the performance hurdle of making the semi-finals to keep his job — and then moved the goal posts half way through the season by telling him he was not required next year anyway.
Such is the level of farce that there’s a push to rehire the sacked coach, with McKenzie apparently happy to leave the door open.
That would make the position of NSW CEO Jim L’Estrange — the man who flicked McKenzie — untenable. L’Estrange, hired mid-way through last year, had been running Star City casino. Maybe the fact that working with the NSWRU is such a gamble qualified him for the job.
Given the nature of boards, there would be too much face lost for chairman Arvid Petersen to part with the CEO he hired — both chairman and CEO would have to go — so the save McKenzie campaign is just an on-going embarrassment to the pair.
McKenzie seems to have more first-rate international coaching options than the NSWRU has first-rate coaches wanting to work for L’Estrange and Petersen.
It will be easier to understand the ref’s scrum rulings on Saturday than the NSWRU. Two things are certain: it will be very, very difficult for the Waratahs to perform better in 2009 then they have this year; and L’Estrange can’t blame NSW’s financial challenges on the team’s performance.
Yes folks, the NSWRU off-field games have a season that never ends.