Jason Taylor sacked by NRL's Wests Tigers
After two weeks ago denying Jason Taylor was on unsteady ground, the Wests Tigers have suddenly and unceremoniously sacked their coach just three games into the NRL season.
Back-to-back floggings at the hands of Penrith and Canberra proved the death knell for Taylor, who was axed following a board meeting on Monday.
Chief executive Justin Pascoe and chairwoman Marina Go were unapologetic in announcing the decision, saying their last two losses were unacceptable following a five-year absence from the finals.
Assistant Andrew Webster will take over as interim coach with former Warriors and Penrith coach Ivan Cleary and North Queensland assistant Todd Payten shaping as the favourites for the fulltime role.
"We're not going to sit here and allow this organisation to drift again," Pascoe said.
"And to miss out on finals, it's been since 2011, we're focussed and unapologetic that we're going to make those decisions."
It was just a fortnight ago that Pascoe said that Taylor's position was not under threat but a 46-6 loss to the Raiders and 36-2 defeat to the Panthers led him to question whether the coach had lost the playing group.
"And those two games were performances that were unacceptable to this organisation," Pascoe said.
"They showed to us that the improvement we had hoped for wasn't there."
Taylor was axed just three rounds into the new season despite missing the finals by just one competition point last year.
Pascoe denied the club was close to extending Taylor's deal last year and he was told any contract negotiations would depend on the side's performance this year.
Pascoe has previously worked with Cleary at the Panthers while Payten is a former Tigers under-20s coach.
The club's "big four" of Aaron Woods, James Tedesco, Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses are understood to be big fans of Payten, after being mentored by him in the junior grades.
The club's four stars have held off contract negotiations until the Tigers' coaching position became clearer.
Taylor's departure will leave a sizeable hole in the joint venture's budget with the club forced to pay out the remainder of his contract.
They are also paying a portion of Robbie Farah's and Curtis Sironen's salaries despite the players having moved to South Sydney and Manly respectively this season.
It's been speculated payouts to the trio could be costing the club upwards of $1 million this year but Go defended the club's financial position.
"We're actually improving off-field so we're quite pleased with where we sit," Go said.
"We don't want to make any more decisions like that but this was a really important decision to make."
© AAP 2017
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