Malcolm Boyle: New boss needs to talk the talk

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Brian McClennan was emotional on his departure. Photo / William Booth
Brian McClennan was emotional on his departure. Photo / William Booth

Perfect delivery and exquisite timing are usually the hallmarks of a great athlete, commentator or entertainer at the top of their game.

So it was sad to witness the resignation of Brian McClennan from the Warriors' coaching position this past fortnight.

McClennan - the master of ordinary bloke-speak - was, for once, lost for a pithy quote as he "went by lunchtime" from a job he had coveted and loved so passionately but fleetingly.

It was an emotional moment for Bluey but the "mutual agreement" line just didn't ring true, coming as it did so quickly after the announcement of the club's new owners.

Since the announcement, the candidates have been circling, and the best communicator may well be the one who gets the job.

In an act of selflessness, McClennan's loyal assistant of the past season, Tony Iro, volunteered to see out the season in the hot seat.

It is difficult to see how this was going to advance his cause for a permanent role, except to say that it illustrated his position as a valuable servant of the club and as a willing caretaker on a hiding to nothing.

By sheer good timing, Kiwi coach Steve Kearney also rolled himself into the mix but he is not considered a serious contender for the Warriors' job by those in the know.

He is a long way short of the super coach the club is looking to attract.

There was surprise at Bluey's decision to step down, particularly among his power base at Mt Albert who felt this may have finished his aspirations in the NRL for good. Again, who knows?

Not too many potential candidates are prepared to go on the record as definite starters or to present a compelling case for selection.

Some previous coaches have quietly indicated interest, with Daniel Anderson refusing to rule it out, and this adds a little spice to the mix.

But if the owners of the club are looking for a super coach, the answer won't be found in the old record books of the club.

As I said before, this is a role for a crack communicator who will be motivated by an enormous challenge in Australasia's toughest sporting competition.

In my view, communication is the key.

In my role as a director of New Zealand's largest PR company, I recall three of us went to dinner at a top Sydney restaurant after a board meeting one evening.

Shortly after we had been seated in a well-lit, glassed-in courtyard, there was a shriek. The ma�tre-d rushed over to our table and discovered that my colleague had seen a large grey rat descend from a downpipe.

The rat was oblivious to the guests and was soon joined by three other sizeable vermin.

As my colleague slammed down her knife and fork, the matre-d managed to comment, "I see Madame has noticed our pet hamsters".

A verbal altercation ensued, during which my colleague forcefully expressed what she thought of the cavorting pets, before ordering us to accompany her out of the restaurant.

A joust proceeded over the payment of the bill before agreement was finally reached after our colleague settled on non-payment of the wine.

As we left the restaurant my colleague remarked "fortunately all your pet rats have now gone" and, with accomplished effectiveness, the matre-d cooed back, "on the contrary Madame, the last one is still leaving".

This was communication with consummate timing and with just enough bravado at just the right time from what should have been a very ruffled restaurateur.

The decision on the Warriors' job could well come down to the right words at the right time. Let's hope the club has just the right communication firepower to respond with all guns blazing.

- Herald on Sunday

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