robdylan

Sharks family on a healing mission


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 27 Oct 2014 at 11:09
Tagged with : , , , , ,

On a Monday when Sharks news is, of course, thin on the ground, I’d like to pick up on a few things that were said at Friday’s press conference and explore them a little further.

The tone, I felt, was positive and upbeat, but there was certainly an undertone of a tough year gone by, with many of the decisions made and the happenings during that period seeming to go against the overall vision that CEO John Smit has for the union and the brand. Board chair Stephen Saad spoke about corporate governance – an oblique reference to the financial mismanagement saga that we’ve chosen not to cover in great detail on these pages – but also said a few other things that to me were very interesting indeed and revealed much about his thinking.

To paraphrase a little, Saad confirmed a feeling that I have long held by saying that the real “owners” of the Sharks are the likes of you and me: the passionate fans in whom the real legacy of Natal rugby finds its custodians. While there may be others, at an administrative level, who come and go over the years and may, rightly or wrongly, assume some level of ownership of the assets of the Sharks company, it would be wrong for any of those people to neglect the interests and needs of the fans – the public – to whom this team’s fate is so indelibly linked. Fans vote with their feet, after all and it’s from this perspective, perhaps, that the shenanigans of the White mini-era were most damaging. The need to re-engage with the public, reform the way the team plays and above all, get some bums onto those Kings Park seats, is huge and one that all at the Sharks must surely have as a top priority going forward.

Saad also said that the players themselves were instrumental in “telling us which coaches they like and don’t like” and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that while they love Brendan Venter, they didn’t like Jake White. Happy players, in this seller’s market, are a priceless commodity and based on the reaction of those few players whose opinions I’ve sought since Friday, the groundwork is being set for a very happy period going forward. The cynics among you will say they don’t give a fig for the players’ personal satisfaction levels so long as they deliver trophies for the fans, but my view is that looking holistically, a harmonious squad comprising players and coaches who actually get on and want to work together is always going to be a more successful one in the long term.

The challenge we face, as fans, is embracing yet another “new start” – I’ve lost count of quite how many of these we’ve had over the last 18 months – and trying not to let the negativity and disappointment of 2014 weigh us down too much. While some are overjoyed at this new beginning, others are rightly a little skeptical and are voicing the concern that “we’ve heard this before and talk is cheap after all”. While I’m pretty firmly in the former camp at this stage, I’m only human too and can’t guarantee that I won’t slip into the latter should evidence of this major improvement fail to be shown in the near term. Right now, though, we are all going to have to be patient through the long months of the off-season, hoping and trusting that the new coaching team are able to put the right plans in place to “get it right” for us in 2015 and beyond.



33 Comments

  • Couldn’t agree more! A happy squad will do a lot better than a disgruntled one. One thing I noticed in matfields book was how hard HM & co worked to get the players happy at the bulls when they were bottom of the log years ago, and look how that payed off.

    If you are playing with your mates, you might give that extra 2% needed to win a very tight game. If you play for a paycheck, why would you bother trying your best? If we get every player to believe in the plans, love the union and their other players, willing to bleed for the win, the jersey and the fans and play their guts out every week, we’d be a monster of a team.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.10.14 11:18:25 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    DragnipurSuper Rugby player
     
  • I think the article echoes a lot of our feeling Rob. A lot of hope with some skepticism mixed in there.

    To right this ship as swiftly as possible the Sharks need a really good pre-season in my opinion. For that to happen, there’s the unfortunate situation of hoping that the Kobelco Steelers don’t advance to the Japanese Top League’s play-offs.

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.10.14 11:19:57 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
     
  • Hmmm…

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.10.14 11:20:04 by Poisy Reply
    Author
    PoisyTeam captain
     
  • I am, dare I say, cautiously optimistic. Also would like to add that even though we as fans (not to mention sponsors etc) wants to see wins and trophies, player satisfaction plays a huge role in ultimately lifting a cup. I believe happy players = results. The one goes hand in hand with the other. If you have a bunch of unhappy players, it translates onto the field, playing every man for himself. However, when the players are happy and satisfied, you tend to see them playing FOR each other, not just with each other.

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.10.14 11:21:24 by Another Nick Reply

    Another NickSuper Rugby player
     
  • When I heard snake was instituting a work day like atmosphere I thought it a matter of time before players got a bit irate. The impression I got watching the team this year was one of grimness. They didn’t seem to be enjoying it, everything was just too serious. Don’t get me wrong, seriousness is good, to a point, but when it starts to suck the joy out of what you’re doing it becomes an enemy rather than a friend. I hope to see that joy return, because with that comes the dynamism of enthusiasm which 2014 lacked in spades..

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.10.14 11:22:56 by The Quirk Reply
    Author
    The QuirkVodacom Cup player
     
  • Now that I think about it, with a guy like SP as an example, last season SP was very good at 15, and even in the first couple of SR matches he was not too bad, then he just seemed to take a nosedive to the bottom. I wonder if this was not due to treatment he received from He-who-will-no-longer-be-named-in-the-same-sentence-as-the-Sharks? Thinking back, every time he made a mistake, it really did look like he was afraid of the uit-kak-sessie that most probably was to follow. Or am I just chasing shadows here?

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.10.14 12:21:44 by KingRiaan Reply

    KingRiaanTeam captain
     
  • @KingRiaan (Comment 6) : He admitted in an interview that his confidence was dented when Jake selected Mvovo at fullback. So indirectly Jake was to blame but SP needs to realise that competition for a position should improve his game.

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.10.14 12:29:31 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 7) : Ok I did not see that interview. Was just thinking out of a first hand experience. I have played under a lot of different coaches, and the worst is when you are giving your best, yet still get brought down by a coach that clearly does not rate you, or just plain does not like you. But yeah, when there is competition for your spot, you need to sink or swim, just look at Charl, always played his best when pushed for his spot.

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.10.14 12:34:22 by KingRiaan Reply

    KingRiaanTeam captain
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 7) : Some of the players also need to grow some [email protected] SP was not exactly covering himself in glory at that stage. He should have used that as motivation to play himself back into the squad.

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.10.14 12:43:54 by Bokhoring Reply
    Administrator
    BokhoringAssistant coach
     
  • Too many unanswered questions here.
    Why didn’t the players like JW.?
    Did the players have a say in Gary Gold’s appointment.?
    Are there checks and balances in place to measure the player’s satisfaction with Gold.?
    Are Jake’s captains still in place?
    Are Jake’s coaches still in place?
    Why didn’t Brendan Venter step in when jW tenure started to go vrot.?
    So many more questions before I and a lot of my mates renew those seriously expensive Gold season tickets

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.10.14 13:22:51 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The houndAssistant coach
     
  • The big question is why shouldn’t I stay at home and watch the game on my large screen HD tv.

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.10.14 13:26:10 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The houndAssistant coach
     
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 9) : I guess it just goes to show that every rugby player handles pressure differently. Hope it gets sorted out under the new coaches.

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.10.14 13:35:29 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 12) : As far as I know, SP always responded fantastically to Brendan. So there’s hope.

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.10.14 13:41:29 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • There’s one thing that I cannot figure out; the Jake White way is diametrically opposed to the values John Smit was espousing during the Currie Cup in 2013. This could not have come as a surprise to Smitty, so what was the thinking in appointing Jake?

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.10.14 13:47:35 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling SongTeam captain
     
  • @Culling Song (Comment 14) : There are a lot of things that don’t add up here.
    The victory at Christchurch with 13 men was probably one of the best Natal/Sharks victories ever,couple of months later it is gone ,forgotten and never mentioned.
    How can a team that won that game,dissipate in the matter of a couple of months.
    Can’t believe it was all JW ‘s fault,but I do credit him with the victory over the Crusaders.

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.10.14 13:58:40 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The houndAssistant coach
     
  • @The hound (Comment 15) : For my money, I have no doubt Jake White was a hugely toxic individual. I’m just surprised John thought he’d be a good fit within the culture that John wants to establish.

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.10.14 14:11:20 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling SongTeam captain
     
  • @The hound (Comment 10) : Biggest question why the hell did BV recommend that Sharks contact JW?!?!?!

  • Comment 17, posted at 27.10.14 14:18:33 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    JDAssistant coach
     
  • @JD (Comment 17) : Lots of things about the good doctor are not very clear.How does he happen to be contracted to two clubs in two different hemispheres and then chooses to live in a separate city all togetherSurely if that position he holds at both the Sharks and Saracens is so important,wouldn’t you want exclusivity for your money.

  • Comment 18, posted at 27.10.14 14:35:02 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The houndAssistant coach
     
  • I’m also cautiously optimistic at the moment and agree that there are too many unanswered questions around Jake’s initial appointment and his leaving. Would be interesting to hear his side of the story.

    So here’s to waiting and watching, oh ja, and also deciding whether to renew the season tickets or not.

  • Comment 19, posted at 27.10.14 14:38:54 by stevovo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    stevovoSuper Rugby player
     
  • @JD (Comment 17) : he didn’t. I believe that story was a fabrication .

  • Comment 20, posted at 27.10.14 14:41:48 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : Elaborate,that is a hand grenade you have just produced there,now pull the pin.

  • Comment 21, posted at 27.10.14 14:45:56 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The houndAssistant coach
     
  • @The hound (Comment 18) : According to an article on IOL Venter’s involvement at the Sharks will not be on a contractual basis. That means to me that BV will only be involved at the Sharks in the short term – and more as a sounding board for DOR and coaches once a week.

  • Comment 22, posted at 27.10.14 15:08:43 by Bokhoring Reply
    Administrator
    BokhoringAssistant coach
     
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 22) : So then why does it need to be a formal appointment,and surely if thats the case a number of guys could do that via Skype,guys like Eddie Jones and Graham Henry.

  • Comment 23, posted at 27.10.14 15:13:44 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The houndAssistant coach
     
  • @The hound (Comment 23) : I think the benefit still is that the Sharks had a working relationship with Venter, and Gold, BMH and the other coaches have worked with him.

  • Comment 24, posted at 27.10.14 15:32:29 by Bokhoring Reply
    Administrator
    BokhoringAssistant coach
     
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 24) : You don’t think he plays that the senior Afrikaans role that is needed for a predominately Afrikaans dressing room,something Rudolph Strauelli use to provide.

  • Comment 25, posted at 27.10.14 15:41:28 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The houndAssistant coach
     
  • @The hound (Comment 25) : BV does not come across as your archetypal authoritative Afrikaans coach. I make a point of reading his blogs on supersport, and he really has a deep understanding of the game.

  • Comment 26, posted at 27.10.14 15:49:44 by Bokhoring Reply
    Administrator
    BokhoringAssistant coach
     
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 26) : My point was not meant to be derogatory,I think it is key to have some body in the management setup who has the respect of the Afrikaans players,who more than make up the bulk of the side.

  • Comment 27, posted at 27.10.14 16:01:33 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The houndAssistant coach
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : ok but that’s news to me.

  • Comment 28, posted at 27.10.14 23:02:30 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    JDAssistant coach
     
  • @stevovo (Comment 19) : maybe you’ll get a chance to “win” a new 2015 jersey again.

  • Comment 29, posted at 27.10.14 23:04:18 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    JDAssistant coach
     
  • Does it not bother anyone that Jake White did not have “unhappy players” when he coached the Boks or the Brumbies?

    Perhaps he was being scapegoated for issues at the Sharks that ran much deeper. Then those issues are still there and they are not going to magically disappear with Gold’s appointment.

  • Comment 30, posted at 28.10.14 21:11:41 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    fyndraaiTeam captain
     
  • @fyndraai (Comment 30) : Yes and funny that hey

  • Comment 31, posted at 29.10.14 03:22:18 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Team captain
     
  • Enough with the pity party. Can we just move on. Yes we have had plenty of changes at the Sharks over the past 15 months but during that time we won the 2013 CC,finished 3rd in the 2014 SR competition and finished 3rd in the 2014 CC. What is your problem? Let’s put things in context here.

  • Comment 32, posted at 29.10.14 09:02:22 by GreatSharksays Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • What I am interested in is are there any new recruits to bolster our ranks? There was talk of Bothma a while ago.

  • Comment 33, posted at 29.10.14 09:03:58 by GreatSharksays Reply

    Assistant coach
     

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.