Many of the comments on the bottom of stories about the proposed NRL external draft indicate most fans have not got their heads around how profoundly it would change the face of the game in this country.
One comment is that clubs would get “no reward” for developing local juniors. They wouldn’t be developing local juniors anymore!
Another one that keeps resurfacing is that there’d be “no incentive” for developing local players. Same answer – they wouldn’t have to.
All in the same boat: Whether playing for Cottelsoe or Corrimal, all juniors would be the same under a new-look NRL if a draft was intorduced. Photo: Greg Totman
The way you think of an NRL club would have to change on a fundamental level. The club would really be 40 professional players, admin staff and coaches – that’s it. It would be a franchise in every sense of the word, a shell by current standards, with everything else run centrally by the NRL.
A junior game could be taking place right across the road from your local NRL club but the club would no longer have anything to do with that game. It would be run out of League Central.
The current boundaries of junior football would be irrelevant because, in Sydney, they are related to senior clubs would no longer have any role in running those competitions.
The NRL could re-draw boundaries, merge competitions and restructure every other level of football in the land. Whether you played you junior footy at Cottesloe or Corrimal, they idea is that you would get a uniform, McDonald's-type experience.
Your referees would all wear the same insignia and your progress would be structured in a very similar way, right up to the point where you could be drafted by a senior club.
Sure, players from your local NRL club might show up from time to time but your connection to them and the club would be very different to what it is today.
What do I think of all this?
Firstly, I think it will happen eventually. But secondly, I liken it to giving a hair dryer to a caveman – there’re a thousand things he needs more and besides, he’s got nowhere to plug it in.
How can we have a national draft without a national competition? We sure don’t have one of those yet.
And shouldn’t we be rationalising the state leagues into one big development body before we start taking the clubs out of the equation? The NSWRL and QRL were supposed to disappear under the Commission structure but politicked their way to survival.
I am reliably informed that even with its wads of cash, the NRL doesn’t have enough money to take over the expenditure that clubs currently invest in junior development. Dave Smith may argue otherwise.
However, unlike colleague Phil Gould I am happy this issue is in the public arena where it can be debated and the mood of fans analysed. I’d far rather be writing about this than whether Gorden Tallis or Robbie Farah are good blokes.
MIXED REPORT ON NRL CHIEFS
It's not sexy to sum up the NRL’s performance by saying they’re doing some things well, others not so well.
Dave Smith spends a lot of time listening to stake holders, going to bush and junior games, and trying to get a feel for the issues at hand.
But there are plenty of stories about consultants picking the brains of long-time NRL staff, preparing a report and that then becomes the job description of the staffer’s new boss.
You are offering the benefit of your experience for someone to come in and earn more than you in a position you aspired to.
Philosophically, Discord will never argue in favour of censorship of any kind. But how can the NRL fine coaches like Ricky Stuart $10,000 for “excessive” criticism and take no action against Melbourne’s Craig Bellamy when he clearly alleged Ashley Klein pre-judged his team.
Put simply, a referee wanting to sue Stuart for defamation would struggle, while Klein would have a case. What’s going on?
COMMENTS ... and responses.
Set of Six first.
GWS Giant said he couldn’t remember David Gallop getting a $1 billion TV deal. I think he did – how long had the new administration been in office when the deal was signed?
Chris talked about the legality of a the draft. He may be referring to an internal draft but in any case AFL players could sue over their draft but don’t because they accept it’s good for the game. Same answer for Ezz.
Lots and lots of comments from last week’s Discord.
It never ceases to amaze me how many fans of other sports comment at the bottom of rugby league stories and seem intent on point scoring. You won’t draw me into that, folks.
James said rugby league was “a non-entity” beyond NSW and Queensland. I LIKE non-entities! I am encouraging rugby league fans to EMBRACE being a non-entity. That’s what the column was about.
Operakat my point is that if NBA stars are representing countries other than the US, then some of that should bleed into coverage of basketball in America. I know that the UK media is interested in soccer teams other than England. But, as I have said before, if 18th century England had been populated by Australians, I doubt they’d have discovered Australia.
Friendly Raptor, I would prefer to have a 2016 Four Nations and a Great Britain tour – my comment was about making a choice if one had to. And Raptor, the RFL has asked Australia for a Lions tour and so far the Australians don’t want them. So you can address your questions about ruining the European Championship to Nigel Wood.
Big fish, I remind you that rugby league’s World Cup is older than rugby union’s. I can’t see why we should just stop playing it because you’re not interested. The same goes for jg. It’s fine to ask for the NRL to become the NBA but all the population and money is in the northern hemisphere. Who wants to follow a sport because it’s strongest competition is in far-off Australia? Too far from the action. Internationals give as a presence in the engine rooms of the world economy.
Greg I think the Sydney media is starting to appreciate how much the Titans are struggling. John Cartwright spoke very passionately about it on Monday.
Ted I believe rugby league will get a MUCH BIGGER TV deal next time. All TV contracts for professional sports are going up. Why does it deserve a smaller one?
Next Mini Ice Age, I am trying to put things into perspective. Rugby league is a tiny, tiny sport internationally and not even recognised by many governments as being different from rugby union. But it’s OUR pimple on the arse of the world. That’s the way we think about our teams – good times, bad times – so why can’t we think about our sport like that? Fly, that’s for you too.
Glfree I am sorry you saw the column as “arrogant” but I’ll wear it as a one-eyed as a badge of honour. Discord is a column for rugby league zealots, by a rugby league zealot. You can find any number of non-one-eyed stories by me on Google.
Stephen, the ARLC have met with officials in the UK about the state of the game there and will be paying a large part of the new RLIF CEO’s salary. They have just today announced a Pacific strategy. They see their job differently to how you see it.
JMW the World Cup is not useless for all the other countries who play the game. You are being extremely parochial again. That was the point of the column – this attitude than unless you’re big time, you’re not worth a second thought.
Let’s generalise. To play rugby league in Serbia or Thailand, you have to be the sort of person interested in obscure things, stuff that is only on the internet and about which everything is written in a foreign language.
That’s exactly the sort of person who DISLIKES rugby league in Australia. Here, rugby league is for Alpha males, it’s as mainstream as it gets. So is it any surprise the latter group looks down its nose at the former group, who in turn looks to us for help?
Tom Callaghan, last week’s headline was not my choice. I think I was saying that Australia is the freak of world rugby league. As explained above, Australia is the exception to almost every aspect of what rugby league is to me.