The play­ers have spo­ken . . .

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT -

Player power in top sport has been very much in ev­i­dence lately.

In Eng­land, star crick­eter Kevin Pi­etersen tried to wield a bit of his own player power and ended up dropped from the test team and over­looked for the World Cup Twenty20 squad.

In New Zealand, Brian McClen­nan was dumped as War­riors rugby league coach af­ter he ap­par­ently ‘‘ lost the dress­ing room’’ – the play­ers wanted him out of there. Player power is a tricky thing. For one thing, it’s the play­ers, not the coach, who bring fans through the turn­stiles. So you don’t get rid of your big-name play­ers on a whim.

And it’s far eas­ier, and cheaper, to sack one coach than half a dozen un­der-per­form­ing play­ers. English football clubs have long fol­lowed that pol­icy.

Pi­etersen, who al­ways ap­pears a bit of a mal­con­tent in the Eng­land set-up, sent some ex­tremely in­flam­ma­tory text mes­sages to his South African op­po­nents dur­ing the sec­ond test at Head­in­g­ley last month.

The odd thing is, they weren’t crit­i­cal of the South Africans, but of his own cap­tain, An­drew Strauss, and coach, Andy Flower.

Shortly af­ter, he in­ti­mated that he might re­tire from all in­ter­na­tional cricket.

That man­aged to di­vert at­ten­tion away from the Eng­land team on to him.

Then he re­leased on YouTube an in­ter­view he or­gan­ised, in which he an­nounced he now loved in­ter­na­tional cricket and his team- mates, and wanted to re­sume play­ing for Eng­land in all forms of the game.

De­spite his mea culpa, Pi­etersen re­mained on the outer.

He was dropped for the cru­cial third test (hav­ing scored 149 in the sec­ond) and over­looked for the Twenty20 team (de­spite star­ring in the last Twenty20 World Cup, two years ago).

So player power didn’t work with Pi­etersen, who was put firmly back in his box and is now faced with grov­el­ling and beg­ging to re­turn to the Eng­land team.

If only New Zealand sports ad­min­is­tra­tors were as strong as those run­ning the Eng­land cricket team.

We got a look at how things of­ten stand in New Zealand sport when the Black Caps toured the West Indies in 1996.

Adam Parore and Chris Cairns got the huff with coach Glenn Turner and walked out on the tour – a lovely way to treat your team-mates.

New Zealand Cricket chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Doig la­belled them mis­cre­ants.

The re­sult? Turner was sacked and Parore and Cairns re­turned to the New Zealand team, no ques­tions asked.

I have a sus­pi­cion some­thing sim­i­lar has hap­pened at the War­riors.

In 2011 the War­riors played out­stand­ingly and reached the NRL grand fi­nal.

Throughout 2012, sev­eral War­riors play­ers have pranced about as if they were still liv­ing on the glory of last year’s cam­paign.

I felt sorry for coach McClen­nan, in his first year in the job, try­ing to get his play­ers’ minds on the job.

The War­riors have had some mis­er­able re­sults, so just be­fore the end of the sea­son, McClen­nan has been sacked. Such is the lot of the coach. Lit­tle thought of point­ing the fin­ger at play­ers who have been un­pro­fes­sional and in­ept, es­pe­cially on de­fence; lit­tle scru­tiny of McClen­nan’s as­sis­tant coaches and noth­ing about the club ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ap­par­ently the War­riors’ woe­ful re­sults in 2012 were all the re­sult of one bloke, sit­ting in the grand­stand.

McClen­nan is one of the top coaches in world rugby league, as he showed dur­ing his suc­cesses with the Mt Al­bert Lions, the Ki­wis and the Leeds Rhi­nos.

Did he sud­denly turn into a dud, or was there more to it?

It was sim­plis­tic to sim­ply sack him, say­ing he had ‘‘lost the dress­ing room’’.

Of course play­ers, given a choice be­tween ad­mit­ting they’ve played shock­ingly all year, or blam­ing the coach, will point the fin­ger at the coach.

But it was shal­low to think the prob­lems could be solved sim­ply by re­mov­ing McClen­nan.

Player power cer­tainly ex­ists at the War­riors. Let’s see if they end up any bet­ter off.

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