Storm slap down: ‘Toxic’ Broncos embarrassing themselves
Melbourne chair Matt Tripp has delivered a stunning slap down of Brisbane bosses over the Broncos' relentless pursuit of key figures at the Storm.
Brisbane, having already been linked with Storm coach Craig Bellamy and captain Cameron Smith, are believed to have contacted Melbourne chief executive Dave Donaghy last week to gauge his interest in replacing Paul White at the helm of the Broncos.
Tripp has had enough.
"I understand and appreciate they have a process to run and I don't blame them for wanting to go after the best talent in the game," Tripp said.
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"To try to run off the playbook of the Melbourne Storm is one thing, then to go after the captain, coach and chief executive is a little bit boring and shows a lack of creativity from a supposed powerhouse. They are embarrassing themselves.
"Whatever happened to promoting from within or employing your own people to do a job? God knows they have enough people up there in Brisbane to pick from.
"We have put a lot of work into Dave. We gave him his first chance as a chief executive. I expect Dave to stay at the Melbourne Storm, renew his contract and repay the faith.
"That's what we're working towards."
The Broncos board will meet on Monday night to discuss the chief executive position, Donaghy among the favourites for the role should he reciprocate the interest from Brisbane.
Fox League commentator and former Broncos player Ben Ikin is considered the other leading contender for the position, which could be filled by the end of the week.
White has already announced that he will depart before the end of the year, having presided over a decade in which the Broncos have strengthened their balance sheet but failed to win a premiership.
The next chief executive will need to hit the ground running given the club is coming to the end of the worst season in its proud history.
Only a win over North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night will prevent the Broncos finishing with the wooden spoon. Even if they beat the Cowboys, they could still finish the season in last spot if Canterbury happened to beat high-flying Penrith.
The Broncos are also in the throes of appointing a new coach and the incoming chief executive is likely to have input in that process. Paul Green and Kevin Walters are basically locked in a two-way battle for the head coaching job, the Broncos have tried and failed to convince Bellamy to join them.
Green has a premiership to his name while Walters is a club legend who has the support of many of the Broncos' old boys. Whoever gets the job will be charged with reinvigorating the club and rebuilding the roster in concert with the new chief executive.
The Broncos have a handful of important players who are able to field formal offers from rival clubs on November 1, among them Kotoni Staggs, Thomas Flegler, Thomas Dearden and Xavier Coates.
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All are priority signings, although the club appears likely to wait until the new coach is appointed before stepping up negotiations.
The incoming chief executive will have a say as well and on that front. Tripp believes the Broncos need to focus on their own backyard and stop looking towards the Storm.
"They should be going after the best talent," Tripp said.
"To just target Melbourne - they should take their blinkers off and have a look around their own state. Just because you pluck people out of an organisation doesn't mean it is going to work for you, especially when you are as toxic as they are."
Meanwhile, Melbourne are expected to be heavily undermanned when they travel to Sydney to play St George Illawarra in the final round of the regular season.
The likes of Jarome Hughes, Dale Finucane and Suli Vunivalu are all carrying niggling injuries. The Storm can't be dislodged from second spot so Bellamy is unlikely to take any chances with them as he prepare for the finals.
Originally published as Storm slap down: 'Toxic' Broncos embarrassing themselves