Tigers great calls for club chairwoman to step aside
BALMAIN legend Benny Elias says the Wests Tigers must remove controversial chairwoman Marina Go from the board if the joint venture is ever again to thrive.
Elias, the uncle of young five-eighth Mitchell Moses, said the club was right to pick the 'big four' of Moses, Luke Brooks, Aaron Woods and James Tedesco over coach Jason Taylor, who was sacked a day after the side was thumped by the Raiders.
Growing concern that the Tigers would lose some or all of the off-contract big four if they stood by Taylor is understood to have guided the club's decision.
However, the timing of the call and the fact that all four of the club's biggest stars are off contract together, effectively allowing them to hold the club to ransom, have prompted questions about the club's leadership.
Speaking on NRL 360, Elias identified Go as the common denominator in a lot of the decisions that have cost the Tigers success since her appointment in 2014.
"You need a strong leader," Elias said. "Phil Rothfield said Marina Go's got to go and I've got to agree with you ... David Smith appointed her to come to the club. He's the one who put her on the board and made her the chairman of our great club and today we are paying for it every second of it and it's killing us."
Go was brought in as part of then-NRL CEO Smith's overhaul of the financially stricken Tigers, with the club bailed out on the condition that it install a board that included hand-picked independent members.
It was a move that took much of the decision-making power out of the hands of the Balmain side of the joint venture, a sore point for Elias and other legends of the club.
Elias said that despite his heavy involvement in the club prior to Go's appointment he had never met her, speculating that she wouldn't even know who he or other high-profile greats of the club like Steve Roach are.
Despite his attack on Go, Elias backed the board-led call to get rid of Taylor because he expects it to keep Woods, Tedesco, Moses and Brooks on side.
"Fortunately the players are making their mark," Elias said.
"Obviously they've got a very strong and a very respected and well=regarded manager in Isaac Moses and I think his influence (on the club) is a good thing.
"They want to stay at the club, the four boys want to stay at the club, they want to stay there. And to stay there some serious action has to be made."
Elias said the four off-contract stars were "100 per cent" the players the Tigers should be building their future around, pointing to the Storm's ability to succeed with a major emphasis on keeping three or four superstars.
"Look at the Melbourne Storm: you see Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater - those (off-contract Wests Tigers) players are that good," Elias said.
"(The Storm) built an empire around those players and we've got the same opportunity here.
"This is the backbone of the future of the club and it's important we keep these players."