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The Tip Sheet – Episode 8: Bernie Gurr, CEO (2018)


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After a torrid first half of the season the Parramatta Eels have fallen to a NRL worst 2-11 record. Fans are understandably frustrated by both the results on the field and the swirling media speculation off it as the afterglow of the stellar 2017 season wears off.

CEO Bernie Gurr joins Sixties, Mitch and Forty20 to break down how and where the Eels have let themselves down in a season that started with so much promise as well as update fans on several important micro and macro matters for the club.

Among a broad range of topics Gurr discusses the Eels struggles on the field, the structure and requirements of the football department in the new era of the soft cap on football operations, the development and progression of junior talent to the NRL level and the significance of bringing Junior Paulo home.

The Cumberland Throw is appreciative of the fact that Bernie Gurr was amendable to a follow-up interview of our hugely popular Episode 5 which gathered traction in the national media. While it always preferable as a fan to be writing about success and good times on the field, it is important that we acknowledge and confront the struggles of our team in 2018.


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35 thoughts on “The Tip Sheet – Episode 8: Bernie Gurr, CEO (2018)

  1. Milo

    Interesting listening today. Well done on this one. I guess as fans we are asking what plans do we have for the next 1-3 yrs….well done on this.

      1. Milo

        Agreed on that mate. I bet you’re glad Sixties and 40 allowed you to ask some questions….

          1. mitch

            With that said I’m reasonably certain my first questions doesn’t actually make any sense.
            “To what extent does 2018 come on the back of 2017?”
            Well, that’s how time works, Mitch.

  2. Trapped in the 1970's

    Thanks lads for taking the time and trouble to post this.

    There probably wasn’t anything too much different in Bernie’s undertone from one interview to the other, but it is amazing how the initial interview given in a winning environment seemed to carry so much more weight and buoyed confidence, whereas this time around the assurance of what was being done is still being done etc. didn’t.

    That is me speaking as a fan though when all I want is a quick fix, quality signings etc. to turn this wasted season around and give renewed hope for the next.

    I was happy with Bernie’s appointment and haven’t lost confidence in other aspects of the overall business that are on the improve. It really is a case of working through the problems, continually trying to improve by benchmarking against best practice and not believing everything said or rumoured.

    As we know things can turn around quickly for the positive as well as the negative,

    1. sixties

      Thanks for listening Trapped.
      Personally, I was pleased with how open Bernie was in his responses. It’s not been a great year, so it was important to be able to ask questions and share his answers with other supporters via TCT.

  3. DDay

    Well done TCT and Bernie Gurr. Reassuring to hear directly from the club and to also hear there is a calm, open minded, measured approach to the management of the club. The comment “no silver bullet” is I think fair enough, we’re in a downward spiral, we’ve lost momentum and confidence. We are in good hands and I hope can start to re-establish positive momentum. Many thanks

    1. sixties

      Thanks DDay.
      The measured approach was the important aspect that I took out of it. Supporters are emotional – we’re meant to be and indeed we’re allowed to be. But we need to get answers and that won’t come from a knee jerk.

    1. Anonymous

      There is no other supporter site that Bernie could reach out to supporters and answer the questions we all want to ask. Well done, it is a credit to all your hard work and management that this site has remained the only site we will go to read, share or discuss about Parra and the 2018 season. It has been very difficult for all concerned, but childish name calling, sprouting vitriol, hate and proposed sackings are not the answer, never have been and never will be!

      1. sixties

        Thanks for that Anon. What I’ve found with Bernie is that he attends all levels of Eels footy and I’ve seen him spending time talking to supporters at all those venues. We’re simply using the platform of TCT to ask questions on behalf of fellow supporters who mightn’t get the chance to speak with him.

        1. Milo

          It was good tuning fellas. For me the excellence section was interesting and i gather its part of the plans for the leagues club and then looking where we could put the centre. Would this be right? As in do we lease saleysards? And what is planned for the old training oval behind Parra stadium?

          1. sixties

            There’s no plans for a Centre of Excellence at the new stadium. Yes we lease Saleyards. Any talk with council would mean:
            a) the site has to be found to buy/lease – prob lease. (If it were at Saleyards it would mean securing a long term lease)
            b) if it becomes a shared community resource, how much the council would contribute to it

  4. Shelley

    Really good to hear directly from a club representative I was getting a little annoyed at the only voice being heard was that controlled by the media or from the self appointed knowledge of all things rugby League Mr Gould. He sounded composed but also honest. Whatever decisions are made going forward I don’t have to agree with, I just need confidence that they are made after careful consideration. That interview reassured me that wise decisions will be made after careful consideration. I really hope the boys start winning for everyone’s sake. The club needs a little breathing space.

    Thanks for the interview boys and thanks to the club for doing it.

  5. Avenger

    Bernie Gurr spoke very well. I was impressed. Thank you, Gentlemen, for asking about our jersey. It was refreshing to hear that Bernie Gurr has an open mind and accepts that the new strip came with some controversy. The possibility of increasing the use of the ’86 heritage jersey was great to hear.

    During times like we are having, ‘forensic examinations’ usually do not end well. In the best interest of our club, I trust that our CEO will make the tough call and resist any perceived loyalty to any staff members that have not met accepted levels of achievement.

    1. mitch

      I appreciate how you worded that, Avenger. We knew there were plenty of people who wanted to know about the jersey and centre of excellence questions, among others. Credit to Bernie for answering them, too.

      Thanks for listening mate.

  6. BDon

    The unfortunate thing is that you can’t make the clock go faster, let’s just fast forward to a time when problems have been addressed and hopefully resolved. We might be in for a painful time of poor performance, the experts’ gallery and fumbling officials. Bernie Gurr put some markers out there although, understandably, careful not to be too specific as to actions and timing. The review process is under way, management and coaching structures will be addressed, resources will be made available, the situation with the juniors is being addressed, recruitment is under scrutiny. We can monitor these things and seek feedback on progress, If it all looks like a lemon, then the personal accountability issue must come into focus. Given our off field dramas since maybe 2010, I don’t think the ship has ever been properly righted and that’s the basis the Donnelly/Gurr team should be given some breathing space to fix things, the ball is squarely now in their court.

    1. sixties

      Thanks for listening and responding mate. We have to expect a review.This is the sort of season that’s been unexpected BDon.
      We wanted to be able to ask questions about certain topics that had been raised in the media, or on social media. We were very grateful for the time we got. Any review will answer other questions.

  7. Adam

    Im glad that Bernie came out and discussed things with TCT. I feel that he is still the best man for the job. He spoke succinctly. he knows the responsibilities he has, and was forthright in his approach to the way the club needs to be managed. His comments regarding back-ending contracts were reassuring as were his views on the future with respect to junior development and recruitment. I do believe that we are in good hands. Lets hope that the governance reforms play out to the clubs advantage. All in all I am pleased with his responses. Great effort guys.

    1. sixties

      Thanks Adam. Appreciate you taking the time to both listen and respond.
      As TCT has addressed in our posts, the season has been dreadfully disappointing. An absolute wreck. As Bernie said, there is nothing positive about a season like this.
      The club does need to be responsive. Hence the reference to reviews being brought forward and lenses sharpened.
      The most important aspect is that we need to have unity moving forward.

  8. Tad

    good interview with respect to getting some info addressing many issues being discussed
    on this and the other site Many complexities with no easy answers- Hopefully we will not be relying on assumptions as we often do.

  9. Rowdy

    Q and A were both honest and realistic without being negative of our hope to improve on field performance this season.
    Bernie is impressive in his overview of all things Parramatta, current and looking forward. While not in any way condoning our poor 2 and 11 start to the year he was also very clear about where that situation is perceived throughout the club.
    We certainly need to support BA and his coaching staff as well as the team that we have, so that they would not feel abandoned by the senior management in the club. It would be better if there were no less criticism of performance while encouraging the team to know we fans are still hopeful and supportive of their efforts if not the results in 11 of those 13 games.

    Good interview gentlemen. Go Parra!

    1. mitch

      Thanks mate. Obviously this season has been unacceptable, and heads will roll as a result. I guess the extent and the source (players, admin, staff) depends on where we go from here. Nonetheless, it was very good of Bernie to sit down with us, and I’m glad he said there’s a review and changes coming as a result.

  10. Clive

    Great work on the interview guys and you do have to give Bernie credit for doing it but I do have a couple of concerns.
    The first one is that Bernie reminds me a bit of Todd Greenberg. He says all the right things and sounds like a genius in interviews but as yet I’m still not convinced as to his performance.

    The second is that bit about the troublesome deadwood(Fitzy and Spagnolo) being able to run again. If those two muppets are able to stand again what really has been achieved in this whole fiasco??

    1. mitch

      There are addition requirements regarding suitability of experience, but to be honest there were simply too many people who voted it down at the last AGM. To be honest, I was there and it wasn’t even close. It’s troublesome for sure, but I’m not sure Max had another choice.

  11. Greg

    G’day guys,

    I really love your work and effort in providing the rest of us with an insight to the club that we wouldn’t normally see. I have confidence in the the work of Bernie and Brad and it was reassuring to hear the plans in place to take us forward. Personally, last Saturday night was the lowest point since 86 for me, it was shattering. Thanks for your work and time in getting this out and putting some air back in the tyres. Keep up the great work. Cheers, Greg.

    1. sixties

      Thanks Greg.
      We certainly need calm heads, at that’s not easy when following your team is all about passion.
      I can well understand your comments re the Knights game. I was scathing in my Spotlight post, having nearly left at half time. That said, I’ve worn my Eels colours all week!

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