The Cumberland Throw

The Four Points – Where Are We Heading?

The founders of The Cumberland Throw are passionate about football and the Parramatta Eels. This pre-season has been an exciting time for the Blue and Gold Army. Incredible recruitment, a new stadium on the way and a victory in the Auckland Nines all signal great times ahead for the supporters.

However, the NRL sanction of the loss of four competition points looms large over a season that promises so much. The excitement of many fans has been tempered by the uncertainty surrounding our club’s predicament. It’s a reality that we face and a reality which cannot be ignored.


Where Are We At?

Monumental strides have been taken behind the scenes. Parramatta staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that many of the administrative/operational recommendations have been achieved. In fact, we can confidently predict that we will meet NRL demands on all but half a dozen or so recommendations.

So it’s all clear sailing then?

Well, maybe not.

Unfortunately, recommendations from the governance review relating to Board elections may not be met.

Just as an aside, we’ve  seen the argument said several times that this originally was a salary cap issue, how can we now lose four competition points for reasons related to election criteria? Well, in reality we’ve actually already lost those four points. Those minus points were suspended, and the NRL actually gave us the ability to earn them back by conducting and completing the recommendations of a governance review. What we have at the moment is the result of that review and the subsequent recommendations.

One of those recommendations is that elections would become triennial, and one third of spots on the board would be open for elected candidates each year. But will yearly elections be beneficial for the club?


The Election Ticket Problem

Up until now, the most likely means of being elected onto the Parramatta Board has been through alignment with a “ticket”. Recent board elections have been played out in the media because of the warring between rival tickets. Past friendships have been strained, words exchanged and the Parramatta family divided.

Once in power, ticket elected boards have natural limitations to their functioning. Decisions along “party lines” are only natural. A quality like loyalty, normally highly valued, is not necessarily in the best interests of the club. Well intentioned people might find that the business of running the club conflicts with the unity of the ticket.


Benefits of a Triennial Election

Triennial elections involve two board positions being placed up for election every year. In theory, this should mean that “ticket” candidature is less likely and that high caliber individuals may be attracted to nominate for the board.

In the past, many talented and qualified people have failed to secure a place on the Eels board due to the ticketed nature of the electoral process. Importantly, many have also been deterred from standing due to the need to align with a “ticket”. For the sake of the club, and to give us the best chance to attract skilled and successful potential nominees, the NRL has suggested that this not be allowed to continue.


What Type of Candidates Could Be Available?

The first thing to stipulate is that we aren’t declaring the current board members as unsuitable. However, there are a number of leaders in business, legal and media industries who are passionate about the Eels and have relevant board experience.

Naturally, there may be concerns about “popular” or “unqualified” identities garnering enough votes to win a seat on the Board. Such a scenario would be easily addressed through setting minimum qualifications for all nominees.

We think it’s important to note, and worth considering, the implementation of pre-qualifications for the board, to weed out such aforementioned unsuitable candidates. For example, the requisite of a candidates to have certain business qualifications, or have held a position on a similar level board. Such an example obviously wouldn’t disqualify any of the current board members.


Why Would This Self-Proclaimed All-Footy Site Take A Stance?

Let’s be clear. We are not campaigning against the current board members. We do not want to politically agitate. There are quality people doing a quality job on the board. TCT has no intention of casting stones at board members who have been dedicated, hard working and helped to right the path that the club was on.

However, we need to address a PROCESS which, if not rectified, could derail the Eels football season. It is a PROCESS, not a person that we will push. It signals the genuine intent of our club to right past mistakes and it signals the genuine intent of our club to tackle more complicated aspects of constitutional reform.

There is no agenda in our intent. We want the achievements of our football team to be reflected on the Premiership table. TCT therefore supports actions that comply with reasonable/beneficial recommendations from the NRL. A system for triennial elections is both reasonable and beneficial.

It seems possible that we can not only make our club better, but also avoid losing four competition points at the same time.

Let’s get this done and just concentrate on the footy.

The Cumberland Throw

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20 thoughts on “The Four Points – Where Are We Heading?

  1. parrathruandthru

    TCT some problems I see with a triennial election setup. (Perhaps I see it wrong)

    1. there is no time to call a extraordinary meeting before the season starts to get members to vote on this. What does the NRL do if the members say no to this. Remember it needs a 75% vote. This is my main concern

    2. Apparently the 2 directors to vacate are drawn from a hat (or lots). What happens if the chairman & vice chairman are drawn out? The board as it stands are thrown into a bit of disarray.

    3. We are in a period of a bit of stability. Even if there can be no factions. Does the NRL really think there wont be the usual disruptions every year from the past dissenters? They just wont let go. It means to me that the media will be able to write about the so called instability every 12 months. Certain journalists set their calendar by Parramatta election dates.

    1. mitch

      it is my understand that the NRL would allow a suspension of the point penalty to allow an AGM to take place, but only for the recommendations that require it.

      1. mitch

        I don’t really have an answer to point 2, it might be part of the modifications submitted to the NRL that wouldn’t allow this to occur, if it were to happen.

        the beauty of the triennial elections from my point of view is that any upheaval is still relatively minor year to year. particularly if the pre-quals mentioned above are put in place, which would limit the ex-players from taking office.

        one last note – certain past board members are also prohibited from running, which would hopefully limit the further fiascos. nonetheless, some really good questions.

  2. Mitchy

    Good read again TCT. Very clear and concise, and it does ask some questions as Parrathruandthru said. I would assume the 2 nominations would be handled by an independent group. I also agree that 12 months we would have the usual suspects leaking stories to their media mates (SMH) and also certain radio jocks. In some way it would be good for the NRL appoint someone to run these elections in similar fashion to last years at the club (and I know they weren’t NRL run). But the elections last year were good in terms of security I felt. Yes there was the mud slinging and I will never forget seeing Fitzy on the Friday afternoon wearing his cap walking around the club outside with pamphlets…not a good sight.

  3. Xxxxxxx

    The bottom line is no one will support a board that costs us four points , but lets be clear on that costs who 4 points ,that would be the coaching staff , the players who have busted thier arse over summer and delivered us a trophy (not board members) and the loyal blue and gold supporters , the board would still have thier jobs till voted out but when that happens we wont get the four points back anyway !! NRL just wants better governance and quite frankly so do i !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Me

    Parrathru mate ,if the chairman and vice were doing the job properly they wouldnt have to worry would they ,i certainly wouldnt vote out a winnner

    1. sixties

      This post was not a comfortable one for us to publish. We have been debating this for days as we are not interested in the politics. Ultimately, we want to argue for the NRL recommendation about triennial elections to be acted upon. We don’t want to cast aspersions about directors whose passion for the club cant be denied. Sometimes its necessary for those on the inside to look from the outside in, as fans do, to get a different perspective.

  5. Chris

    Is it possible that the Board think they can manoeuvre this situation to a point where we don’t lose points and we don’t accept constitutional change? Seems the only logical answer to their agitating and aggressive statements thus far. Why would you antagonise the NRL by saying you will take them to court? Who is advising these people? Maybe that’s the problem.

  6. Rowdy Roddy

    Self interest is a cancerous disease.
    It is a most contagious disease at board level. Although not sexually transmitted in the usual manner by direct intimate contact with one another, board members have been known to both transmit and receive the self interest affliction from their partners with gusto! The resultant multiplication factor has been credited as the catalyst for a 180 deg back-flip from the most sincere proponent of ” for the good of the club”! to “every man for himself”
    Beware the Ides of March! It may come early this year 😉
    Good Post TCT team.

  7. ParraMedic

    Another worthy topic to ponder TCT.
    We risk upheaval on so many fronts if this is not sorted before the deadline. I agree with previous posts that the Parra faithful with be very unforgiving if this eventuates and we start on -4 points.
    Constitutional reform is a necessary part of any organisation’s viability and successfulness long term. Change is not bad. Accept the recommendations and move on. Don’t let it disrupt the most promising season in years.

  8. Cagey

    Is it more important for individuals on the board retain their position and power and lose 4 points or consider the long suffering fans and take the boards recommendations and one third of board stand down each year to be replaced by other elected members?

    1. Richard Jackson

      I’m uncertain of the path for the club to take on this issue. I do feel uneasy at the act of blackmail the NRL is using to get their way
      I don’t see a part election every year as a promise of delivering smarter people to our board.
      It could, but just as easily the opposite could occur, leading to the old scenario of leaks, disharmony and a fractured board.
      All to the glee of the media.
      So I’m going against the flow here I know but maybe I’d like to see our club determine our future by ourselves, and continue with 2 year
      tenures for the sake of stability.
      Even if it means starting the season behind the 8 ball!

  9. Trouser Eeel

    Are there any other clubs in the NRL that have a similar arrangement to Parra? I guess they’d all have their own constitutions and I’d be amazed if they were all the same. We’re not the only club to have breached the salary cap, why is it that we’ve been singled out for constitutional reform?
    I like the idea of minimum qualifications or suitable similar experience for the board though. Let’s start voting in people based on their ability to get the job done right, not based on their popularity.

      1. sixties

        Classic mate! Must be the advancing years.
        No doubt we have been singled out, but the fact that there were so many recommendations that we have actually addressed means that we must have had quite a bit to fix up AND I would think will be a better organisation for doing so.
        As for the election process, I think that we have to explore triennial systems (with appropriate qualifications set in place to avoid popular voting of identities).

  10. Grunta Potato

    We won’t be losing the four points and never have been.
    From what I have gathered from a person on the board, members of the board were always going to fight against a few of the recommendations. When push came to shove however, the board would take the necessary steps to ensure the points were not lost or regained as it were. There has never been any doubt surrounding this.
    Agenda driven bias and banter by a small few on the ‘other site’ from previous and failed ticket runners and his supporters are quick to put the boot in….as expected. The board have had too learn by their mistakes to a degree and took over the board of a club which was in an absolute mess to say the least, both on and off the field.
    The team we will enjoy watching taking the field in ten days at Pirtek Stadium is a credit to BA but let’s not forget the role the board has played here too. Employing Schuebert has been one of the best decisions out of many we have witnessed at the eels in recent times.
    Believe in Steve!

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