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Club bosses heading for showdown with NRL chiefs

In the spotlight: NRL CEO Dave Smith.

In the spotlight: NRL CEO Dave Smith. Photo: Peter Stoop

A showdown is looming on Wednesday as some of the game's most powerful figures prepare to confront NRL chief Dave Smith over his plan to demand independent directors at clubs, and raise other issues that have left them increasingly disenchanted with League Central.

Frustrated at how the NRL's intentions for governance reform have been presented publicly, club chairpersons will use the meeting with Smith in Sydney to seek assurances that independents will not be thrust upon them, arguing that the make-up of boards should be assessed on a case-by-case basis rather than a one-rule-fits-all framework.

There remains great confusion in clubland about how the NRL's landmark funding shake-up, announced in principle in May, will be rolled out when it is scheduled to begin on November 1. The competition's 16 teams stand to lose up to $1 million if they don't meet minimum standards of governance proposed to include seven-member boards for all clubs with three independents and female representation.

Smith has denied reports that clubs will also need to have an independent chairpersons – a requirement that would jeopardise the positions of long-standing club bosses – but at least one club says they have been told by NRL officials that it is a condition that remains in the blueprint for reform.

There is also angst about what will constitute the independence of a director amid concerns the same criteria will be applied as that used in the formation of the ARL Commission. If that was the case, new independent board members would not be allowed to have had any association with their club for three years.

The NRL is expected to shortly announce three independent directors to a seven-member Wests Tigers board in a deal aimed at improving relations between the joint-venture partners and the financial viability of the merged entity. The NRL's head of club services, Tony Crawford, is also in the process of appointing four independent directors to a new Newcastle board after they took control from embattled former billionaire Nathan Tinkler on June 14.

At other clubs such as Parramatta, mired in factional upheaval in recent years, the introduction of independents could serve to provide much-desired stability.

Club chairpersons are concerned, however, at the prospect of governance guidelines being applied uniformly to every club no matter their size, financial status and ownership structure, and intend to make that clear to Smith on Wednesday.  

Club bosses including Nick Politis (Sydney Roosters), Ray Dib (Canterbury), Phil Gould (Penrith), Damian Keogh (Cronulla), Warren Lockwood (Dragons), Mike Bailey (Tigers), Scott Penn (Manly) and Bill Wavish (New Zealand Warriors) came together in July in a bid to form a united front against the proposed reforms.

They intend to press Smith for details on Wednesday and spell out their opposition to the blanket concept of passionate, long-serving directors being discarded to make way for business-savvy candidates with no existing ties to the clubs. 

Those who attend are also expected to express their dissatisfaction at what they perceive to be a growing disconnect between NRL head office and the clubs. Several were angry to learn of plans for an NRL rookie draft via Smith's comments in a newspaper last month. Others are frustrated at the absence of the ARL Commission chairman John Grant in the governance-reform process, believing they could have benefited from his input.

A spokesman said the NRL would continue to consult with the clubs in relation to minimum standards for boards. "This remains a work in progress and we will continue to discuss the best way forward with the clubs," he said.

7 comments so far

  • A draft imposed on young players would probably fail the legal test . It would only take one dissatisfied player to have it declared illegal .No matter how many would be prepared to voluntarily enter to develop a career ,what is wrong with the current free market ? Just what freedom does an 18 yr old aspirant have in battling a system which is his only path to a career ?
    Looking at the usual battle for the semis and the last round we have this weekend , is there any need to cure a defect and is there a gross imbalance between clubs .Who would want to be draftedto a club with obvious bad management , poor coaching , far removed from family and friends and constantly at the bottom of the ladder ?

    Commenter
    Chris
    Location
    Baulkham Hills
    Date and time
    September 02, 2014, 8:22AM
    • You can see the hand of Politis in this protest organisation

      Commenter
      Terry
      Date and time
      September 02, 2014, 9:19AM
      • Of course you can - and why shouldn't he take a hand in it. The Roosters are financially stable and successful both on and off the field. They are not a governance basket case like some other NRL entities... I am sure at least 99.9% of Easts Board, Club Members, Supporters, Players and Employees are 100% behind our current structure, and we certainly don't want change to a successful club foisted on us from accross the car-park.

        Commenter
        Enmore Chook
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        September 02, 2014, 4:11PM
    • Yes you can see the hand of Nick Politis, Ray Dib and every other good administrator questioning the reasoning of having independent directors, why would any club want to get rid of a successful board to bring in 3 independents with no affiliation with you club? If it aint broke, doesn't need fixing.

      Commenter
      Mike
      Location
      Central Coast
      Date and time
      September 02, 2014, 10:58AM
      • The NRL are off and away on another headline which distracts from the refereeing standard. However, on what basis can the NRL demand an autonomous organisation put any person onto a club board. The boards manage the football teams on behalf of the owners be they "Privately or Community" owned. Who is going to indemnify the owners against action of the independent board members? This could result in our clubs being puppets for the NRL, a possibility that would even leave the Kremlin in awe of it's audacity.

        Commenter
        Rob
        Location
        Gymea Bay
        Date and time
        September 02, 2014, 1:05PM
        • The NRL Clubs - still run by the few for the benefit of the few

          Commenter
          Roger
          Date and time
          September 02, 2014, 1:19PM
          • Another decision by the NRL that stinks of running a business and not of running a sport. Someone from the ARLC needs to wake up and realise that the two are hugely different, Mr Smith needs to be shunted off to the side and he should be the commercial manager and we should then try to find a sports administrator who is willing to jump in and run the sport. A banker who does not know, follow or understand rugby league or the NRL was never going to be a success.

            Commenter
            Rossco
            Location
            Robina
            Date and time
            September 02, 2014, 2:42PM

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            NRL Season 2015

            Round 1
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            BRI 6 vs SOU 36 Report Stats
            Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
            PAR 42 vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
            Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
            NEW 24 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
            GCT 18 vs WST 19 Report Stats
            NQL 4 vs SYD 28 Report Stats
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            PEN 24 vs CBY 18 Report Stats
            CRO 20 vs CBR 24 Report Stats
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            STG 4 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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            Round 2
            Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
            CBY 32 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
            CRO 2 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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            PEN 40 vs GCT Report Stats
            MAN 24 vs MEL 22 Stats
            NQL 14 vs NEW 16 Report Stats
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            SOU 34 vs SYD 26 Stats
            CBR 6 vs NZW 18 Report Stats
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            WST 22 vs STG 4 Stats
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            Round 3
            Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
            MAN 12 vs CBY 16 Report Stats
            BRI 44 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
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            NZW 29 vs PAR 16 Report Stats
            CBR 20 vs STG 22 Report Stats
            MEL 36 vs CRO 18 Report Stats
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            SOU 20 vs WST 6 Report Stats
            GCT 18 vs NEW 20 Report Stats
            Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
            SYD 20 vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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            Round 4
            Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
            PAR 29 vs SOU 16 Report Stats
            WST 24 vs CBY 25 Report Stats
            Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
            NEW 26 vs PEN 14 Report Stats
            CRO 22 vs GCT 24 Report Stats
            STG 12 vs MAN 4 Report Stats
            Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
            NZW 16 vs BRI 24 Report Stats
            SYD 34 vs CBR 6 Report Stats
            Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
            NQL 18 vs MEL 17 Stats
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            Round 5
            Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
            CBY 17 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
            GCT 16 vs BRI 26 Report Stats
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            MAN 16 vs CBR 29 Report Stats
            NEW vs STG 13 Report Stats
            Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
            SYD 12 vs CRO 20 Report Stats
            Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
            PAR 6 vs WST 22 Report Stats
            MEL 30 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
            PEN 10 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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            Round 6
            Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
            BRI 22 vs SYD 18 Report Stats
            CRO 22 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
            Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
            PAR 16 vs GCT 38 Report Stats
            NZW 32 vs WST 22 Report Stats
            PEN 22 vs MAN 12 Report Stats
            Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
            CBR 10 vs MEL 14 Report Stats
            STG 31 vs CBY 6 Report Stats
            Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
            SOU 12 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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            Round 7
            Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
            CBY 28 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
            STG 12 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
            Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
            GCT 32 vs PEN 6 Report Stats
            NQL 28 vs NZW 24 Report Stats
            MEL 17 vs SYD 16 Report Stats
            Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
            WST 22 vs CBR 30 Report Stats
            NEW 22 vs PAR 28 Report Stats
            Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
            CRO 18 vs SOU 10 Stats
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            Round 8
            Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
            CBY 14 vs WST 38 Stats
            Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
            NZW 28 vs GCT 32 Report Stats
            NEW 24 vs NQL 26 Report Stats
            SYD 12 vs STG 14 Report Stats
            MEL 10 vs MAN 12 Stats
            BRI 28 vs PAR 16 Stats
            Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
            PEN 26 vs CRO 18 Stats
            SOU 22 vs CBR 30 Stats
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            Round 9
            Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
            BRI 8 vs PEN 5 Report Stats
            SYD 36 vs WST 4 Stats
            Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
            CBR 56 vs GCT 16 Stats
            CRO 16 vs NZW 20 Stats
            NQL 23 vs CBY 16 Stats
            Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
            MAN 30 vs NEW 10 Stats
            PAR 10 vs MEL 28 Stats
            Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
            SOU 16 vs STG 10 Stats
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            Round 10
            Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
            CBY 10 vs SYD 24 Stats
            NQL 31 vs BRI 20 Report Stats
            Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
            PAR 13 vs NZW 17 Report Stats
            GCT 22 vs CRO 23 Report Stats
            MEL 16 vs SOU 12 Stats
            Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
            STG 32 vs CBR 18 Report Stats
            NEW 22 vs WST 12 Stats
            Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
            MAN 10 vs PEN 11 Stats
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            Round 11
            Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
            SOU 14 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
            Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
            WST vs NQL 19:30CSS
            Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
            CBR vs CBY 16:00GIO Stadium
            Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
            NEW vs BRI 19:00HS
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            Round 12
            Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
            PEN vs PAR 19:45Pepper Stadium
            Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
            GCT vs SOU 15:00Cbus Super Stadium
            CBR vs BRI 17:30GIO Stadium
            NQL vs MAN 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
            Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
            NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
            STG vs CRO 16:00Jubilee Oval
            Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs MEL 19:00AS
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            Round 13
            Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs MAN 19:35SUN
            WST vs GCT 19:35VAS
            Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
            NEW vs CBR 15:00HS
            SOU vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
            PEN vs MEL 19:30Pepper Stadium
            Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
            CRO vs SYD 16:00Remondis Stadium
            Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
            CBY vs STG 16:00ANZ
            PAR vs NQL 19:00Pirtek Stadium
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            Round 14
            Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
            WST vs SOU 19:45ANZ
            Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
            NZW vs SYD 18:00MSS
            Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
            GCT vs CBY 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
            Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
            MEL vs PAR 19:00AAMI
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            Round 15
            Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
            MAN vs WST 19:45BO
            Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
            CBR vs NQL 15:00GIO Stadium
            GCT vs NZW 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
            CBY vs PEN 19:30ANZ
            Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
            NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
            MEL vs BRI 16:00AAMI
            Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
            STG vs SYD 19:00AS
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            Round 16
            Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs NEW 19:35SUN
            SOU vs MAN 19:35ANZ
            Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
            NZW vs CBR 15:00MSS
            NQL vs CRO 17:301300 Smiles Stadium
            PAR vs STG 19:30Pirtek Stadium
            Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs GCT 14:00AS
            WST vs PEN 16:00VAS
            Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
            CBY vs MEL 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
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            Round 17
            Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
            PEN vs SOU 19:45Pepper Stadium
            Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
            STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
            Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
            MAN vs CRO 16:00BO
            Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
            WST vs PAR 19:00ANZ
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            Round 18
            Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
            CBR vs NEW 19:45GIO Stadium
            Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
            PEN vs SYD 17:30Pepper Stadium
            CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
            Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
            NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
            CRO vs STG 16:00Remondis Stadium
            Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
            GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
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            Round 19
            Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
            PAR vs CBY 19:35ANZ
            MEL vs PEN 19:35AAMI
            Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
            CBR vs CRO 15:00GIO Stadium
            NEW vs GCT 17:30HS
            STG vs SOU 19:30SCG
            Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
            BRI vs WST 16:00SUN
            Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
            MAN vs NQL 19:00BO
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            Round 20
            Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs GCT 19:35SUN
            WST vs SYD 19:35ANZ
            Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
            NZW vs MAN 15:00MSS
            SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
            MEL vs STG 19:30AAMI
            Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
            PEN vs CBR 14:00Pepper Stadium
            CBY vs CRO 16:00Belmore Sports Ground
            Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
            NQL vs PAR 19:001300 Smiles Stadium
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            Round 21
            Thu, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
            NZW vs CRO 22:00MSS
            Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
            NQL vs CBR 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
            STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
            SOU vs PEN 00:00ANZ
            SYD vs CBY 00:00AS
            MAN vs BRI 00:00TBA
            WST vs MEL 00:00VAS
            GCT vs PAR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 22
            Thu, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
            NZW vs STG 22:00MSS
            Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
            NEW vs SYD 00:00HS
            CBR vs WST 00:00GIO Stadium
            MAN vs SOU 00:00BO
            CRO vs NQL 00:00Remondis Stadium
            MEL vs GCT 00:00AAMI
            PAR vs PEN 00:30TIO
            View All Fixtures
            Round 23
            Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs STG 00:00SUN
            CBY vs GCT 00:00TBA
            NQL vs SOU 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
            PEN vs NZW 00:00Pepper Stadium
            CBR vs MAN 00:00GIO Stadium
            SYD vs PAR 00:00AS
            CRO vs MEL 00:00Remondis Stadium
            WST vs NEW 00:00CSS
            View All Fixtures
            Round 24
            Wed, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
            NZW vs NQL 22:00MSS
            Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
            STG vs PEN 00:00WIN
            SOU vs CBY 00:00ANZ
            SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
            MAN vs PAR 00:00BO
            CRO vs WST 00:00Remondis Stadium
            MEL vs NEW 00:00AAMI
            GCT vs CBR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 25
            Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
            PAR vs CRO 00:00Pirtek Stadium
            NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
            SOU vs BRI 00:00AS
            CBR vs PEN 00:00GIO Stadium
            MAN vs SYD 00:00BO
            MEL vs NQL 00:00AAMI
            WST vs NZW 00:00CSS
            GCT vs STG 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 26
            Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs MEL 00:00SUN
            CBY vs NZW 00:00ANZ
            NQL vs GCT 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
            STG vs WST 00:00ANZ
            PAR vs CBR 00:00Pirtek Stadium
            PEN vs NEW 00:00Pepper Stadium
            SYD vs SOU 00:00AS
            CRO vs MAN 00:00Remondis Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            NRL Ladder 2015
            Overall standings
            Team P W L D Pts
            Melbourne Storm 10 7 3 0 16
            St George-Illawarra Dragons 10 7 3 0 16
            Brisbane Broncos 10 7 3 0 14
            North Queensland Cowboys 10 7 3 0 14
            Sydney Roosters 10 5 5 0 12
            South Sydney Rabbitohs 11 6 5 0 12
            Warriors 10 5 5 0 12
            Penrith Panthers 10 5 5 0 12
            View all
             
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