The NRL has blocked Wests Tigers’ attempt to employ Laurie Daley as a halves coach because his radio presenting job has ties to the betting industry.
The development comes as the joint-venture outfit backs away from its threat to take legal action against the governing body over the deregistration of chief executive Justin Pascoe.
Laurie Daley has been blocked from joining Wests Tigers.Credit:AAP
New Tigers coach Michael Maguire was content to work with the existing support staff rather than make wholesale changes upon arriving at Concord. However, he was keen to make one key appointment – that of former Raiders, Blues and Kangaroos five-eighth Daley.
The pair have been good friends since their playing days together at Canberra and the Herald revealed last month that Maguire was keen for the former NSW coach to mentor the club’s rising and experienced halves including Luke Brooks, Benji Marshall, Josh Reynolds and Tyson Gamble.
However, the NRL ruled Daley’s other job, as co-host of Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast, could create a potential conflict of interest. Sky Sports Radio is owned by Tabcorp and Daley provides rugby league tips on one of the segments. Under the NRL rules, registered participants are prohibited from having ties with betting operators.
“Laurie checked with the integrity unit and then withdrew from the Wests Tigers role,” an NRL spokesman said.
The decision has infuriated the Tigers, who are still smarting over the NRL's decision to provisionally deregister Pascoe. The club is also facing the prospect of a $750,000 fine – as well as the removal of $639,000 out of this year’s salary cap – for failing to disclose a post-retirement ambassadorial deal that was struck with Robbie Farah when he left for South Sydney in 2016. With the NRL’s final decision still pending – the Tigers have submitted their response to the breach notice and are hoping for a reduction in the penalty – club officials didn't want to publicly comment on the Daley ruling. The decision means the club won’t be able to tap into the experience the 244-game veteran and former Blues coach could bring to the black, white and gold.
“I understand the rules and you always have to protect the integrity of the game,” Daley said.
“That’s about protecting me and also protecting them.
“I would have like to have been involved, most definitely. But I understand their decision and I fully endorse and support it. It’s the right thing to do.”
Daley has aspirations to one day become a head coach, but would have to give up his radio job to do so. Asked if that was a sacrifice he was prepared to make, the 49-year-old said: “That’s something for down the track, I’ll see what happens.”
Daley’s involvement with the radio station won’t force him to stand down as the coach of the Indigenous All Stars side, which takes on the Maori at AAMI Park on February 14. He is also an Australian selector.
“The All Stars game is a one-off celebration of indigenous culture and does not require ongoing contact with the players, so we welcome his involvement for one game a year under those circumstances,” the NRL spokesman said.
Two of the Tigers’ biggest names, Marshall and Moses Mbye, have suffered mini setbacks during the off-season. Mbye suffered a PCL rupture in his knee last week, while Marshall was hampered by a slight hamstring strain. Both players have emerged relatively unscathed and are expected to recover in time to get a trial game in before the season proper begins.
It caps a tumultuous off season for the Tigers that has also resulted in Michael Chee Kam and new recruit Zane Musgrove being charged with assault for alleged off-field incidents.
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