“I love the Tigers and I would love to see them do well, just unfortunately right now I can’t say yes to a position like that,” Clarke said. “But it’s also an honour they would want me on there.
“I’d love to be able to help them in any way I can. If the time is right I’d be more than happy to do it. I just don’t think it would be fair to take up an opportunity like that and then let people down with how busy I am at the moment. That’s not me.
I’d love to be able to help them in any way I can. If the time is right I’d be more than happy to do it
“In the future I would definitely be open to it.”
The Tigers’ on-field fortunes contrast their off-field stability with a board majority run by the powerful Wests Ashfield Leagues Club.
Clarke has a close association with several Tigers directors and remains a huge advocate of his Sydney grade cricket club, Western Suburbs.
Clarke’s global appeal, particularly in India, has the potential to increase the Wests Tigers’ reach at a time when they are desperately trying to reverse years of on-field disappointments.
Even in retirement Clarke retains a high profile and earlier this year joined Laurie Daley as a co-host of Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast, which airs five mornings a week. He also plans to juggle cricket commentary duties throughout the year.
The Tigers board has been relatively stable in recent years and the approach to Clarke is not dissimilar to former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell being parachuted into the club as chairman early in 2019.
But O’Farrell quit the board less than a year later to take up a role as Australia’s high commissioner to India.
His successor as chairman, Lee Hagipantelis, told the Herald he was “bitterly disappointed” with the Tigers’ 40-point drubbing at the hands of Newcastle on the weekend, their third straight loss.
It was the 250th game at the Tigers for club legends Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence, and Michael Maguire’s side face a horror draw over the final seven rounds of the regular season.
“My heart aches for those fans and members as I sit in front of the TV and watch a performance like [Saturday night] and just cannot rationalise it,” Hagipantelis said on Sunday. “I just do not understand where a performance like that comes from.”
The club’s performance away from the field has been far more pleasing after Wests Ashfield members last year passed resolutions to amalgamate with Balmain Leagues Club, wiping Balmain’s $2.5 million debt to the NRL.
They also paid off the $1.8 million the Tigers themselves owed to the NRL.
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.