Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

League: Jim Doyle - I'll quit Warriors if we don't improve

Solomone Kata carts the ball up on Friday night. Photo / photosport.nz
Solomone Kata carts the ball up on Friday night. Photo / photosport.nz

Jim Doyle knows the clock is ticking. The Warriors boss admits this year is a "defining season" for him, and if the club doesn't achieve success he may not be at Mt Smart in 2018. In a frank interview with the Herald on Sunday, Doyle said it might be time for someone else to lead the organisation if results don't come in the next eight months.

"Obviously it depends on the circumstances," said Doyle. "Things might not go well [this year] but it depends on how [it happens]. But if there has been no dramas, no issues along the way, and no significant injuries and I am sitting here thinking I don't know how I could improve things - then there is no point me being here. That would be my context. If I can't think of anything that will make us better, then obviously I am not the right person."

Doyle, who took the role at the end of the 2014 season, emphasises he has no desire to walk away but takes a pragmatic view.

"I've always said as long as I am having fun and adding value then I will stick around, said Doyle.

"But if I am not enjoying it - and I am not adding value - then it doesn't make sense for me to be here."

The NRL's clearance of Kieran Foran yesterday feels like the final piece of Jim's Jigsaw. Since he arrived, the Scot has shaken up the Warriors, on and off the field. He drove the acquisition of Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, secured the club's future at Mt Smart, backed Andrew McFadden throughout an awful losing streak, sanctioned the departure of Konrad Hurrell, brought in Stephen Kearney as head coach and then allowed McFadden to stay on, in an unusual scenario. Foran is his biggest gamble, and adds an extra layer of pressure to this year. The Kiwi five-eighth is seen as the last piece in the puzzle, to help the Warriors take the next step. Doyle - whose relationship with Foran goes back to his days as NZRL chief executive - has been the embattled player's greatest advocate and invested significant time and energy in him.

"It is a defining season, certainly for me," said Doyle. "In any organisation the CEO is responsible for creating the right environment and getting the right people. We have the best coaching staff the club has ever had and a pretty good roster. We'll have issues along the way - whether they are injuries or other things - but hopefully we have people who can cope with that."

Doyle maintains a demanding work schedule. He's at his desk at 6.30am most days - leaving for home about 12 hours later - and can often be found replying to emails and texts in the evening. It's unrelenting, but rewarding.

"You get measured on a weekly basis. You have good weeks, bad weeks, good months, bad months and are constantly under the spotlight," Doyle said.

"I wasn't relishing that when I took the role but the challenge of getting this club to a level where it should be offsets that."

- NZ Herald

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