Will Rugby League ever learn? More bellyaching about the Australian Rugby League Commission

Really? This again?

The Panthers Den - Photo by Chris Hearne - CC-BY-NC-2.0

The Panthers Den – Photo by Chris HearneCC-BY-NC-2.0

Apparently the NRL clubs have held a secret meeting to discuss their dissatisfaction with the performance of the Australian Rugby League Commission. Hardly a secret meeting if the Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph and the Australian knew about it but there you have it. I’m pretty sure the clubs wanted the NRL to know they were having a ‘secret’ meeting.

I know not everyone else feels this way but the ARL Commission is a breath of fresh air. The Commission has brought great stability to the game. Sure the clubs get upset from time to time but this is partially motivated by self interest. It is usually revenue related. Patrick Smith’s take on the issue was spot on. It is childish at best for the NRL clubs to think that a revolt will do anything else but bring the game to another Superleague war low. The ARL Commission may be imperfect but the gains Rugby League has made since the inception of the Commission in 2012 finally looks like matching the stability experienced by the AFL. Running a sport requires the right balance between responding promptly to issues and deciding which issues need to be thoroughly thought through without immediate action (or any action for that matter). It is a very delicate business and with social media responding to everything within seconds, public criticism is never far away no matter what the decision.

Thought this might be a good time to run back over the performance of the ARL Commission for the sake of posterity.

February 2012

Rugby League in Australia is restructured and the ARL Commission is appointed.

August 2012

Five year Australian NRL broadcast rights deal worth $1.025 billion with Foxtel and Channel 9.

November 2012

Brought in former Lloyds International banker David Smith as CEO which was certainly a coup from a financial perspective. No surprise that the game has been run in a fiscally sound manner since then. He gets a lot of stick but it is a pleasant change for the NRL to be in the black all the time.

December 2012

Telstra signs $100M sponsorship and digital rights agreement with the ARL Commission.

December 2012

Refused to bow to salary cap pressures which resulted in Israel Folau transitioning from AFL to Rugby Union by way of some brief conversations with Parramatta. The NRL received a stack of criticism for this but they stuck to their guns regarding the salary cap. Salary cap reform should be considered and not a knee jerk reaction around individual players.

December 2012

State of Origin eligibility rules are clarified. Tempted to call this the James Tamou Rule as ensuring a player must have lived in the state he plays Origin for before he turns 13 would have ruled out the Palmerston North local from the NSW side. Blues supporters will point to Greg Inglis. Tweaking the eligibility rules was one of the best decisions ever made and one step towards strengthening the Pacific teams in particular but NZ as well.

March 2013

NZ media rights deal signed with Sky TV (although this one went down to the wire).

February 2014

Inaugural NRL 9s tournament held in Auckland.

June 2014

NRL takes control of the Newcastle Knights bringing down the curtain on the Nathan Tinkler era.

February 2015

NRL takes control of the Gold Coast Titans.

Probably my favourite aspect of the ARL Commission is the decisions they haven’t made. Some may be frustrated by the lack of action in regards to expansion but history has taught the game (or at least should have taught the game) that rapid expansion isn’t always the best option for overall growth. The considered approach to expansion may not have endeared the ARL Commission to the masses but given the financial sustainability of some of the existing clubs is still in question, including the Gold Coast and Newcastle, I think rapid decisions on expansion will ultimately do the game a disservice.

I think probably the best thing the new ARL Commission has achieved is the improved governance in the game. Rugby League is often described as tribal in nature. It has been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Fans love for the tribal nature of the game doesn’t extend to turning a blind eye to inappropriate or improper governance practices or making decisions that are financially imprudent (or in some cases disastrous). The ARL Commission seems to be cleaning the game up from that perspective.

Let’s take a minute to remember how the game was run before the ARL Commission was formed. Administration was not centralised. Decisions were often made by warring bodies in self interest. Not always, but it was hard for the game to have a central strategy. Policy decisions and expenditure were made in a piecemeal way. The international game nearly died completely.

At the end of the day it is better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. In this case we all remember the devil before the ARL Commission so we have been adequately warned.

What is sweeter than Jelly Bread?

  • NBA Playoffs. You just know I’m going to say this every week until its over. Dubs v Cavs. Steph vs LeBron.

What isn’t?

  • I miss you already EPL.

Bill James Award

For the statistically superior NRL human being.

Sisa Waqa – Tries – 2, Run Metres – 213m, Try Assists – 0, Tackle Breaks – 5, Tackles – 11, Offloads – 4, Line Breaks – 2, Line Break Assists – 0, Errors – 1, Penalties Conceded – 1 and Missing Melbourne – Maybe.

NRL Tips Round 12

Panthers vs Eels – Panthers (Penrith are starting to get their stars back from injury. The Eels just can’t be trusted at the moment)
Titans vs Rabbitohs – Rabbitohs (This could be a close one especially without Adam Reynolds but Souths should find a way to win)
Raiders vs Broncos – Broncos (Broncos just keep finding a way to get it done this year. Wayne Bennett proving he is worth the money)
Cowboys vs Sea Eagles – Cows (This is a trap game for the Cows. Four players backing up from Origin. Manly have been shot to pieces by injury this year and morale looks low. DCE is out and Foran is no certainty either. Cows finding a way to get it done this year anyways)
Warriors vs Knights – Warriors (Knights are in freefall and Warriors starting to play well with Tomkins back which is a big plus)
Dragons vs Sharks – Dragons (Dragons have been the surprise packets of the season so far. Sharks have been better than expected but are still missing Gallen)
Roosters vs Storm – Storm (My upset pick of the round. Can just see the Storm eking out a valuable 2 away points in this one. Roosters still a bit hit and miss this year)

Last week – 1/4

Season so far – 50/84

NRL Fantasy Round 12


Got to hold on to some of my trades. Its hard but I know I have to do it.

Starting Team

Nathan Peats (Eels), Sam Lisone (Warriors), George Burgess (Rabbitohs), Shaun Fensom (Raiders), Tohu Harris (Storm), Ethan Lowe (Cowboys), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Shaun Johnson (Warriors), Jack Bird (Sharks), Iosia Soliola (Raiders), Reece Robinson (Eels), Euan Aitken (Dragons) and Lachlan Coote (Cowboys)


Kierran Moseley (Titans), Manu Ma’u (Eels), Solomone Kata (Warriors) and Mitchell Aubusson (Roosters)

Balance of the squad

Richard Fa’aoso (Eels), Martin Taupau (Tigers), Chris Grevsmuhl (Rabbitohs), Dene Halatau (Tigers), Kane Elgey (Titans), Mitch Moses (Tigers), Delouise Hoeter (Tigers) and Edrick Lee (Raiders)

Round 11 Score


Current Points


Current Position

1,799 of 110,501

EPL Tips Season Results

After what seems 100 years we have finally reached the end of the season.

I’ve adopted the scoring system utilised by Mark Lawrenson on the BBC (a correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point and picking an exact score THREE points) and even though he wouldn’t know me from Adam we are going head to head all season long. It’s on like Donkey Kong (unless I get a letter from his lawyer or Donkey Kong’s lawyer and then I’m tipping against myself again).

Last week – Me – 6 (6 from 10 with no perfect scores) and Lawro – 7 (5 from 10 with 1 perfect score)

Final score – Me – 273 and Lawro – 258 (It has been fun Lawro)

Fantasy Premier League Season Results

Final Points


Final Position

173,840 from 3,502,998

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode on Tuesday, 2 June 2015 titled ‘2015 State of Origin Game 1 Review’


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