Wests Tigers executive speaks out after sacking

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
11/01/2024
News
BettingTop10 News
Former Wests Tigers recruitment boss calls out club

Wests Tigers’ former head of recruitment called out the club in an explosive interview. He criticised the club’s restructuring specifically. 

News Insights

  • Tigers have made sweeping changes to the executive and backroom structures this offseason.
  • Former recruitment boss has spoken out about his sacking and the future of the club.
  • Head coach Benji Marshall has been given more power.
  • Tigers recently signed Panthers’ Jarome Luai.

Wests Tigers continue to dominate the headlines. Last week it was the signing of Penrith Panthers’ star five-eighth Jarome Luai. This week, it’s backroom drama.  
 
The club decided to sack their long-term recruitment boss Scott Fulton, who then decided to unload on his former club. Fulton criticised the club’s decision and the direction it is heading in under new CEO Shane Richardson.  

Wests Tigers reckoning with independent review findings 

Wests Tigers have consistently been one of the worst teams in the NRL in recent years. The club have not qualified for the Finals Series since the 2011 NRL season when their current boss, Benji Marshall, was still playing for the club and leading the league in points scored. Tigers have finished dead last in the league for two straight seasons.  
 
Fans decided this year that they had enough. Thousands of the Tigers’ faithful fans petitioned the club, requesting a top-to-bottom audit of club operations. Club executives acquiesced to this request and commissioned an independent review.  
 
The outcomes of that review were announced in December, and resulted in CEO Justin Pascoe resigning and nearly the entire board stepping down. Some board members resigned voluntarily and quietly, while others, like the controversial firebrand Lee Hagipantelis, made a show of their leaving of the club.  
 
Hagipantelis’ company, Brydens Lawyers, is Tigers’ principal front-of-shirt sponsor and reportedly pays the club $1 million per year. Hagipantelis made it clear he would not withdraw this sponsorship, but criticised the club’s owners, remaining executives, and the independent commission for scurrying behind the scenes in the shadows to “put together plans for the demise of the board.” 

Fulton firing reignites Tigers’ dramatic offseason 

With Hagipantelis and other executives  gone, Tigers fans hoped they could put the drama of the independent behind them, but that’s not been the case. The firing of Scott Fulton is reportedly also related to the December independent review. 
 
It’s a structure I’ve put in place for the long term of the club. It’s unfortunate that Scott doesn’t fit into that, but it’s nothing to do with him as a person or an operator. It’s just a different way we’re going to be doing a lot of things in football,” said Tigers’ interim CEO Shane Richardson.  
 
There’ll be more changes over the next 30-40 days, this is just one of them,” Richardson said, downplaying the move. “These are decisions I hate making but for the betterment of the club we’ve got to make calls on what the structure looks like.” Reports claim Wests Tigers are scrapping their entire recruitment manager position. 
 
According to Fulton, his sacking may be a little more complicated. “It’s disappointing because I had such high hopes for the Wests Tigers and the direction we were heading in.” Fulton stressed how he enjoyed working with previous management and bemoaned the restructuring before saying, “These things happen in rugby league…I wish the club all the best.” 

Wests Tigers betting on Benji Marshall 

Neither Richardson, Fulton, or head coach Benji Marshall have commented on the other speculation surrounding Fulton’s sacking that says he was really sacked over disputes with Marshall regarding player recruitment.  
 
Reportedly Fulton pursued Manly five-eighth Josh Schuster and other players against Marshall’s wishes. Marshall has played a key role in recruitment. This was evident in the signing of Panthers’ Jarome Luai.  
 
Backing Marshall over a respected and experienced recruitment lead like Fulton is a big statement by Tigers’ ownership. Fan’s will be hoping it’s not a decision that costs them. 

Tigers’ are currently tipped by the betting sites to be one of the worst teams in the NRL again. With that being said, it’s unlikely Marshall is not still Tigers boss in 2025 as that is when major signings like Jarome Luai will join the club. Bailing on Marshall before then seems unlikely.