Panthers board consider coach's future - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Panthers board consider coach's future

By Liam Fitzgibbon 06/09/2008 08:48:41 PM Comments (0)

Penrith coach Matthew Elliott's future will be decided on Sunday when the NRL club's board meets to decide whether to sack him with a year remaining on his contract.

Speculation Elliott is on the verge of being fired intensified when the board called for the extraordinary meeting.

The Panthers concluded a second disappointing season under Elliott in Saturday's 34-16 loss to Manly and it could well have been the coach's last game in charge.

Elliott admitted he could feel the axe hovering.

"I don't think they're gathering to discuss spreadsheets," Elliott said of the meeting, which he was "inadvertently" told about on Friday night.

"I think I can pretty well guess what the one and only topic of the agenda will be."

Elliott said he first learned of the speculation when his daughter phoned him Friday night after it was suggested on Channel Nine's game coverage that Elliott could be replaced by Melbourne assistant Stephen Kearney.

The former Canberra coach said he was disappointed with the speculation and said he had not be spoken to by anyone of the club's higher powers.

"I'm disappointed, disappointed in the way it's transpired," Elliott said.

"I'm disappointed that the accountability of where we're at rests solely with me.

"I obviously take responsibility for all the things I'm responsible for, there's no doubt about that and I'm really disappointed in how the season collapsed from five weeks ago."

Elliott is only two years into a three-year contract and sacking him could prove an expensive exercise for an outfit already forced to slash its expenditure recently because its leagues club is losing money.

He vowed to remain defiant and carry on his role as normal.

"I've got a three-year contract, I've got another year to serve, I'll be here (Sunday) morning," Elliott said.

"I'm going to work mate, just like I did today.

"You won't find me in the shadows or hiding... I've got a debrief planned for next week, meetings planned with players so as far as I'm concerned I'm still at work.

"My intention is to be here for another eight to ten years, whether that intention is reflected in other decision-makers well, I guess we'll all know that pretty soon."

Elliott has made significant personnel changes during his two years at the club, this year encouraging players such as Tony Puletua and Luke Priddis to explore their options elsewhere, and he acknowledged it had an affect within the squad.

"Let's not be naive about it," he said.

"There are some people that are leaving and quite often when people are leaving they're disappointed about decisions that were made.

"I understand that and I think every coach goes through that."

Panthers captain Petero Civoniceva did not want to comment, saying he was "in the dark" over the situation.

"We'll just wait and see," Civoniceva said.

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