If there was “anyone” to sack and remove from the Aitutaki Sharks, it’s the executives. To advertise the coach position without first meeting and conversing with the coach is, I believe, ignorant and unprofessional on the executives’ part.
How can they, the Sharks executives, be so short-sighted and not see the huge improvement in the commitment of both players and the coach this year?
Simple: None of them have ever played rugby league, nor has any one of them had the vision and understanding of a rugby mentor or coach. They have already engaged a new coach, so the advertisement for the position is an excuse to hide the insult.
Tai Nelio is probably the best coach the Sharks has ever had. Evidence and results have spoken. His first year (2017) as a coach, he made history for the Sharks. They defeated the champion club Avatiu Eels at Punuakiore for the first time since the Sharks joined (11 years ago) the Cook Islands rugby league competition and they won 3 consecutive games; a feat never achieved before.
He loyally represented the Sharks at every CIRLA meeting and orchestrated the road run fund raiser on Rarotonga which raised $6,000 for the Sharks. His fares never cost the Sharks a single cent and this is how you thank him? Sack him without notice? What a debacle!
Of all things, they should be more concerned acknowledging and recognising the players and most of all their sponsors.
My many thanks go to all the Sharks sponsors who generously responded to Tai’s request earlier this year. Thank you to the 42 players who gave it all their heart and soul, even when no-one else but their coach believed in them. Thank you to the three players from Atiu. Tai always had a positive attitude in motivating the players, saying, “I will not give up on you.” This obviously meant nothing to the executives.
Thank you atupaka to Teina and Annie Bishop, Aitutaki Village staff, and Aitutaki mayor Tekura Bishop for setting up a wonderful and beautiful “coach - players” island night dinner last Tuesday. Thank you to Tai’s sister Tania Mataiti for your kindest heart.
Last but not least: Thank you Tai, you deserve better recognition than this. You did an awesome job for the Sharks. You created history in the making and I am so proud of you.