Dumped Elliott defends Panthers' culture - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dumped Elliott defends Panthers' culture

Joe Barton 22/06/2011 08:46:53 PM Comments (0)

Matt Elliott has taken exception to suggestions he was forced out of Penrith early due to a disintegration of the NRL club's culture.

In the past week the Panthers have disciplined three players for actions away from the football field.

They terminated the contract of backrower Daine Laurie for drinking on a flight, opened an investigation on troubled halfback Arana Taumata for allegedly stealing a prescription pad and fined star centre Michael Jennings $10,000 for drinking while injured.

But Elliott, speaking for the first time since stepping down from his role as head coach on Monday, defended the club's off-field record when he was at the helm, identifying their second-placed finish in 2010 as evidence he'd built a strong culture.

"The same discipline applied last year when we came second and I don't think you've seen too much - up until just recently - of Panthers players in the media about indiscretions," Elliott told Fox Sports.

"So I feel pretty comfortable with my record as a head coach over a long period of time with discipline issues."

While disappointed to not see out the season, Elliott tipped a bright future for his successor Steve Georgallis at the NRL club.

He admitted he knew his time was up once general manager of football Phil Gould increased Georgallis' coaching input.

"I think once Phil decided to appoint Steve, I really needed to move aside," Elliott explained.

"It's too hard to expect a team to serve two masters and as soon as he made a decision that he wanted to give Steve an opportunity to coach there I really felt that the right thing was to give that opportunity to Steve without anyone looking over his shoulder."

Elliott said Georgallis, who has an 11 game audition to retain the head coaching role into 2012, had all the qualities to become a successful NRL coach.

"He's got a great relationship with the players and he's got a great understanding of footy," Elliott added.

"... I really believe that Steve Georgallis can be a very good head coach and hopefully he takes this opportunity to do that."

The former Canberra and Bradford mentor said he was not angry about the manner in which his time at Penrith ended, but did admit to being a bit disappointed he was unable to see out the season - if only because he still believes the 10th-placed Panthers are finals-bound.

"No (I'm not angry), I'm disappointed because I'm really attached to the club and to the players and I really feel there's still a lot for that team to offer this year," he said.

"It's been a disrupted start to the season, through the pre-season and then during the season, but I feel like they will make the semis.

"And I really want to see them do well."

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