Roy Masters (rugby league)
15 October 1941 |
Newtown, New South Wales, Australia
Roy Masters AM is an Australian sports journalist and former rugby league football coach. He is currently a sports columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald. He was originally a school teacher with an interest in team psychology before embarking on a coaching career in the NSWRFL Premiership. Masters is the son of author and journalist Olga Masters and brother of prominent media notables including current affairs journalist Chris Masters.
Masters began his career coaching at the Western Suburbs Magpies in the NSWRL competition in 1978, while still a social science teacher at Doonside High School. He was appointed even though he had no experience as a professional player, though he had played country football as a hooker of, "only average ability." He re-built the Magpies, who had been in decline since suffering three successive grand final losses to St George from 1961 to 1963. He coached the Magpies to a minor premiership in 1978 and they played with consistent high quality during this period. Many acclaimed players blossomed under his tutelage, including Les Boyd, John Dorahy and John "Dallas" Donnelly, while he had the tough, uncompromising Halfback Tommy Raudonikis leading the on-field charge.
Masters was a master of psychology, famously terming the Western Suburbs the "fibros" (a type of asbestos sheeting commonly used in houses in the area) as opposed to Manly (The Sea Eagles), whom he described as the "silvertails". This reflected both the socio-economics of the respective Sydney suburbs and the financial situations of the clubs. He created this term after an exhibition match in Melbourne. The Sea Eagles stayed at a luxury resort while Wests had to make do with a two star hotel.
"I've been a battler all my life. I can communicate with a team like Wests. I form a close personal relationship with each of my players because I'm one of their kind." Masters said of his time at the club. Masters left Western Suburbs when it emerged that the Magpies' affiliated leagues club at Ashfield would no longer be able to support the incomes of his key "fibros" players.
Masters moved on to St George in 1982, reaching the Grand Final in 1985 but losing to Canterbury-Bankstown 7-6. Masters is regarded as one of the finest coaches to have never won a premiership because he was seemingly able to help financially struggling clubs to perform above their ability. He was awarded the Dally M coach of the year in 1985.
In September 2004 Masters was named as coach of the Western Suburbs Magpies team of the century.
Masters is a columnist at The Sydney Morning Herald, and also appears on the ABC-TV sports panel show Offsiders. He was also a Rugby League Commentator for Channel Seven when the Seven network had the free to air TV rights for Australian Tests from 1990 to 1993.
Masters did not support Super League when it emerged in 1995 and is well known for his support for rugby league traditions. He is also respected for his analytical skill, and is highly regarded by current players, a rarity for a member of the media. Masters also covers soccer, boxing and a variety of other sports, famously criticising American jingoism at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.
He is a strong supporter of John O'Neill, the Australian Rugby Union chief executive (and former Football Federation Australia CEO) who led the federation to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. However, Masters has criticised FFA chairman Frank Lowy in a series of articles detailing Australian soccer's financial problems, in spite of the Socceroos' success at the World Cup. He questioned whether Lowy, Australia's second richest man, would repay an Australian Sports Commission loan of over A$3 million, to help develop a national league. In a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, Lowy questioned Masters' journalistic credibility, saying among other things that Masters was a "Rugby League commentator". Masters then revealed that his great uncle James "Judy" Masters was a former captain of the Australian national team.
In 2005 Masters gave the 7th annual Tom Brock Lecture. He also made an appearance in the 2007 rugby league drama film The Final Winter. In 2012 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for services to sport and journalism.
- Tony Stephens (24 June 1979). "The league coach who swears by the bard". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- "NSW kept at heel by sense of tradition - League - Sport". smh.com.au. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- "Coaches fall into two categories: perfectionists and the pragmatists - League". Smh.com.au. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- "Let's be frank, code needs all the help it can get - Football - Sport". Smh.com.au. 2006-07-15. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- Tom Brock Lecture at the Australian Society for Sports History's website
- FitzSimons, Peter (20 October 2007). "The Fitz Files". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2 October 2010.
- "Member (AM) in the Order of Australia". www.gg.gov.au. Governor-General of Australia. Retrieved 27 January 2012.