Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter could earn a contract extension next month following the club’s strong start to the season.
Potter, who is off contract at the end of the year, was almost sacked last season as the club slumped to a 15th-placed finish.
However, the board held its nerve and now has its reward, a four-from-six start to the club’s premiership campaign before the Easter Monday blockbuster against an equally resurgent Parramatta at ANZ Stadium.
Potter is part of a new-look coaching team this year which includes assistants Todd Payten and David Kidwell, the latter a contender for the top job at the Warriors.
It’s understood an assessment will be made on Potter following the opening 10 rounds of the season by a new board which will include three independent NRL-appointed directors. The future of the coach will be one of the top items on the agenda when it is formed, most likely within a fortnight.
“We’ve got to get the board in place, that’s the most important thing first and foremost,” Tigers chief Grant Mayer said.
“Over the first six weeks of the competition, Mick has done everything right. In regards to any contract negotiations, you’ve got to put your best foot forward. He’s doing that, the team is helping him do that and there’s no doubt when it comes down to having those conversations, those results will play a big part in him going forward.”
The Tigers were ravaged by injury last year and the fallout from Benji Marshall’s switch to rugby. The club will again be without two of its biggest stars, captain Robbie Farah and fullback James Tedesco, against the Eels due to injury. However, the club appears in a better position to deal with the setbacks after recruiting well during the off-season.
One of those buys, NSW hopeful Pat Richards, said he would support an extension of Potter’s tenure.
“Yeah, why not? He’s getting the best out of us at the moment and doing a fine job,” Richards said.
“It would have been testing for him last year with everything going on, but from the moment I got into the joint, he’s been great with me.”
Tigers forward Adam Blair said the players had sensed a change in Potter’s outlook this year.
“He seems a little bit more relaxed, as everyone would be – myself included – when the pressure’s not on,” Blair said.
“When you’re winning, everything seems to be going all right, and when times are tough, you find out a little bit more about yourself.
“He’s been great this year. From the start of the pre-season he pushed us really hard and got the things out of us that we needed to work on.
“With the addition of Kidwell and Toddy, it helps a lot. They’re all voicing their opinions on how the staff should be working together as a group to push us on to better things.”