Steve Deanne: Jolly Glenn brings back some cheer

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Ivan Cleary. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Ivan Cleary. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The Warriors are one of the few - if not the only - NRL clubs without cheerleaders. When sponsorship for the troupe ran out a couple of years ago, the club decided they simply couldn't afford it.

Former coach Ivan Cleary would look around the stands on match days and if they were half-empty his heart would sink.

The club's bottom line, he would know, was about to take a hit. Budgets would be crunched further, resources stretched. The little money in the pot for spending on players would be just that bit littler.

It costs $19 million a year to run the Warriors. Not exactly a shoestring budget, but tight nonetheless.

Yesterday new owner Owen Glenn revealed he and equal partner Eric Watson had pondered chucking the best part of $6 million at one player.

Even if that player was Sonny Bill Williams, the fact the club would even contemplate such a move demonstrates a new reality.

Having toiled for years to make ends meet, chief executive Wayne Scurrah could be forgiven for feeling like his numbers had just come up.

"It's not a lottery for us," Scurrah insisted. "We've still got to operate like a business. But I think it is fantastic for the sport and it gives us the resources to grow."

There is no denying, though, that their new sugar daddy makes the Warriors once again a player in the player market.

Glenn seems to possess a fondness for bold, headline-grabbing statements (and, it has to be said, actions). It must be contagious. Yesterday Scurrah got in on the act, indicating raids on rugby could be back on the agenda.

"We want to recruit exciting players, be they from rugby or rugby league," he said. "We manage the cap pretty well anyway and with a potential increase in the cap this makes us one of the clubs that can compete."

In trading the scowling hate figure of Mark Hotchin for the jolly philanthropy of Glenn, the club has also scored some serious PR capital.

If yesterday's performance was anything to go by, Glenn will be fun.

He and Watson share interests in energy, property, fast horses and, if the society pages are to be believed, glamorous women. Who knows - maybe we'll even get the cheerleaders back.

- NZ Herald

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