Outgoing Warriors CEO Jim Doyle has no regrets about the Kieran Foran pursuit, even though that may cloud his legacy at the club.
It was announced earlier this week that Doyle would be moving into an executive chairman role, ending three years in charge of the Auckland club.
Doyle was never going to be a long term boss and will be suited to the strategic aspects of the new role, but there is no doubt his tenure hasn't ended as expected.
However, despite the on-field results over the last three years, Doyle had some significant achievements off it. Arguably his most important was securing the club's future at Mt Smart for the next decade (and beyond if a new downtown stadium doesn't eventuate).
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It's a situation that is taken for granted now, but it was massive. Regional Facilities Auckland had been steadfast in their desire to move the Warriors to either Albany or Eden Park, and the majority of the Auckland council was either supportive or ambivalent. A move looked inevitable, not helped by some dubious cost estimates thrown around by the RFA. It was only Doyle's tireless lobbying behind the scenes, and his clever public positioning, that turned the mood of the decision makers, otherwise the Warriors would be facing an even bleaker future; the prospect of being based at QBE Stadium or Eden Park from 2019 onwards, which would alienate their fan base and make the prospect of an on-field turnaround even more remote.
He also engineered the signing of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck - a recruitment coup in recent Warriors history - and made money on the deal as Wigan paid back a portion of the transfer fee to regain Sam Tomkins, and Doyle also helped to get Tohu Harris away from the Storm, no mean feat. And membership numbers have increased significantly under his watch.
But Foran was probably his biggest gamble, considering the massive amount of time, energy and focus that was put into the Kiwis playmaker, both to get him to Auckland and back on to the field. Doyle put hundreds of man hours into it, as did coach Stephen Kearney and other senior management. We'll never know the opportunity cost of those efforts, but the club seemed to take their eye off the ball in other areas (particularly recruitment of forwards) and the special treatment afforded for Foran (including his extra time in Australia after away matches) wasn't an ideal situation.
"I don't regret the Kieran decision," Doyle told the Herald on Sunday. "It certainly didn't work out how we had anticipated but I don't regret it. If we were sitting here right now, having not made the top eight and we had had the chance to sign Kieran Foran and decided not to, people would have questioned that. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but everyone who is truthful and honest would have made the same decision. "
Doyle also defended the performances of Foran in 2017.
"He got himself right and he was really good in his first few games," said Doyle. "Then he was being blasted by the media every day about where he was going to go next year and that affected him for a while. But once he made his decision he got back on track but he has been really unlucky with injuries."