Last week was yet another tumultuous one for the Wests Tigers, with the appointment of new coach Ivan Cleary effective immediately, then the retention of halfback Luke Brooks while rumours surfaced that James Tedesco, Aaron Woods and Mitchell Moses were all set to leave the club.
Shortly after Brooks re-signed, Moses had reportedly agreed to terms with Parramatta after knocking back a $3 million deal over three years at the Tigers – deal that was on the table for quite some time.
Moses then requested an immediate release which the Tigers refused.
The next day, Moses’ uncle and Balmain great Benny Elias stated to the media that Moses had no choice but to leave.
“Mitchell does not want to move, he never wanted to move, his mates there are all very, very close, he loves the club,” Elias said.
The problem with this information, Benny, is that there’s plenty out there to suggest otherwise.
Last year Moses had the option to stay with the club for another year and he mulled over it for months before finally agreeing . Some would say that is not a sign of love for a club.
Moses had been playing rather poorly and very inconsistently all year while his contract decisions were being deliberated over behind closed and in the media. However, once it was all resolved he played brilliantly, to the level that his ‘potential’ tag had suggested he could.
Last week he again had his contract matters resolved and just like last year, he came out for the Tigers and played a starring role in their amazing victory over a North Queensland Cowboys side on their home ground, who were expected to replicate their 64-6 smashing of the Tigers the last time they travelled to Townsville in 2014.
If Moses loved his club, he’d have done a similar thing to what players like Robbie Farah, Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence have all been claimed as having done while at the Tigers: taking pay cuts to help the team out when they needed it most.
Moses, though, knocked back a deal he never deserved to receive, a rumoured million-dollar-a-season to instead go to Parramatta on what has been suggested is a smaller salary. That offer from the Tigers was on the table and he failed to sign it when he had the chance.
That yells from the rooftops that he wanted out. He wasn’t pushed.
If he was pushed out, he wouldn’t have had such a rich contract offered to him at all. That’s not the actions of a club wanting to rid themselves of a player.
Also, if those mates are all “very, very close”, why are they all being linked to different clubs?
Brooks will be at the Tigers, Woods is rumoured to be linking with the Bulldogs, Tedesco has the Roosters chasing him hard and Moses will be at Parramatta.
These comments from Elias come just a few weeks after he became very animated on Fox Sports’ NRL 360 program, talking about the unfairness at Wests Tigers that only two Balmain delegates are on the board dominated by Wests and Wests Ashfield delegates. He didn’t once go into the detail as to why Balmain were in that situation, because he knows he’s a large reason for that.
Coming out with crocodile tears fooled nobody. In June 2012 the Sydney Morning Herald reported:
Mr Elias has been lobbying heavily for the controversial $300 million Rozelle Village development on the club’s former site, which is now before the state government’s independent Planning Assessment Commission.
What Mr Elias has failed to tell fans is that he owns a 50 per cent stake in the company behind the development, and stands to make millions if it goes ahead. And that company, which bought the club’s property for $1 plus the clearing of a $23.5 million debt, is earning hundreds of thousands of dollars from crippling fees charged on loans to the club.
The development never got approval as it continually failed to comply with the local council requests.
Elias has had a genuine role in what has become the miserable state of the Balmain Leagues Club and their dire financial state, which both the NRL and Wests Ashfield have helped to rectify. It is because of those actions that Balmain does not have an equal say in the Wests Tigers and rightly so.
Benny’s ‘love’ for the club is because it was gullible enough to believe that he would deliver on an almost fairytale like potential, that would take them to great success.
The club appears to be turning a corner and have stopped believing the bullshit.
****This article appeared on Commentary Box Sports website on April 12, 2017****