A potential candidate at the Cronulla board elections has savaged the directors’ handling of the crisis, strongly criticising chairman David Irvine.

John Dunphy, the former head of Shimano in Australia, is considering contesting the elections. Candidates have until March 18 to nominate, with members going to the polls in mid-April.

The multimillionaire businessman believes the directors are trying to protect their own interests in standing down coach Shane Flanagan and sacking four of his staffers. While he is yet to decide definitively if he will contest the ballot, Dunphy is adamant the board has mismanaged the situation.

”The consensus is the board has not stood up for the players and they have buckled over,” Dunphy said. ”Are they saying Shane Flanagan is half guilty or a quarter guilty? Do you put them off or sack them? The physiotherapist – what did he do? Bugger all.

”This is an effort on the board’s part to exonerate themselves. The bottom line is … that is their responsibility. What we have here is Irvine saying they knew nothing.”

Attempts to contact Irvine for comment were unsuccessful. Dunphy said he was close to Flanagan and captain Paul Gallen and, given they had protested their innocence, they should be taken at their word. ”If they say they have done nothing wrong, what can they actually admit to?” he said. ”This tactic of saying, ‘We’ll give you a six-month sentence and another year on the contract and pay you all the time’, that is unacceptable to the people of the Shire. That’s unacceptable to natural justice, it’s unacceptable to people who, in their own words, have done nothing wrong.”

Dunphy insisted he had not been sounded out about standing for the board, although it’s understood some of the Shire’s most prominent businesspeople and identities have discussed forming a rebel ticket.

”Of course I would consider getting involved,” said Dunphy, who will retire as chairman of Shimano in June. ”From now on level heads are the ones which make the call, not done on self-interest or emotive terms.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.